(yes those are my knees, yes I’m wearing pants/shorts, and she was actually a lot happier than she looks here)
Alright, so I posted before we left that I was stressed out over what to bring/what not to bring, etc. for our first extended trip with Eleanor. I’m here to report back on what we brought and how it worked out (despite Brandon’s best efforts at reminding me, I didn’t get pictures of all Eleanor’s sleeping arrangements so internet photos will have to do).
First off, we decided to bring our car seat and purchase an umbrella stroller for the trip. We have quite a few trips coming up, so we figured the umbrella stroller would be a good investment for Eleanor and future babies (no, I am not pregnant). While normally I would have opted to just “wear” E, I feared she and I would overheat being the delicate flowers we are living in the moderate San Francisco climate. The thought of being hot and wearing a sweaty baby did not appeal. As far as sleeping arrangements, I decided to brave whatever conditions the hotel provided. I did, however, bring my own sheet (a pack ‘n play sized sheet) which turned out to be an excellent decision.
While the carseat was a pain in the behind to lug at the airport, I was glad we brought it. Also I was very pleased with our umbrella stroller purchase/usage. We took an average of 3 walks a day with Eleanor in there for most of the time and it was perfect.
Now onto the biggie: sleeping. As previously mentioned, we stayed in 3 different hotels and I had 3 different sleeping arrangements. Let me start out by saying we were not opposed to co-sleeping except that she goes to bed early and we were staying in a suite (for part of the time). I wasn’t sure logistically how it would work to put her to bed and ensure she wasn’t going to roll out before we joined her. Also, she sleeps better in her own bed. Anyway.
Hotel #1: A cheap hotel by the airport (1 night)
Brandon nicknamed this (only half jokingly) the “crib from hell” based on my reaction when it showed up. The actual crib wasn’t scary–it was a metal crib similar to the one below:
What was a little scary to me was the mattress and bedding. The mattress was just a little 2″ thick piece of old foam–no waterproof cover or anything. The sheet was a normal sized bed sheet folded up and just placed on top of the flimsy foam. Then there was a full-sized crib bumper woven through the slats. I don’t have a big objection to bumpers normally but this arrangement combined with the sheet looked like a death trap. Brandon was a bit surprised when he walked around the corner and saw me wrestling with the foam, cursing under my breath, with a mound of sheet and crib bumper on the floor. I put my crib sheet on the foam, threw the bed sheet and bumper in a corner and called it a night. The foam was fine, Eleanor didn’t catch any diseases, but I did try not to think about it (it still gives me the willies).
Hotel #2: The Hampton Inn in Elkhorn, WI near the wedding (2 nights)
At hotel #2, a folding wood was delivered, complete with waterproof mattress and properly fitted crib sheet. I may or may not have done a little celebratory dance. It looked similar to this:
I felt much more confident putting Eleanor to sleep on this. I still used my crib sheet since the smell would be more familiar to her but I rested easy with her in this sleeping arrangement. For the record, she didn’t seem to have a big preference between the two.
Hotel #3: The Hampton Inn, Downtown Chicago (3 nights)
Although Hotel #3 was the same chain as our previous hotel, the crib was different but equally as comfortable for me. It was essentially a Pack ‘N Play with a waterproof mattress. They did, however, deliver just a regular flat sheet for the crib so again I was thankful to have my own proper crib sheet. The exact model of crib is pictured below:
Again with this crib I felt very confident putting Eleanor down for bed. All in all I was pleased with my options (aside from hotel #1). In a way I guess you get what you pay for. It did make me curious if anyone actually puts their kid to bed in that mess of bumpers and gigantic sheet…I mean, they didn’t even put the sheet in very well. It was sort of balled up instead of tucked under the edges of the foam!
I was glad we didn’t lug a Pack ‘N Play across the country, and we did have the backup plan of either co-sleeping or going out to Walmart or Target and purchasing an inexpensive, basic Pack ‘N Play for the duration of our trip. It worked out for us, but parents beware, it’s a bit of a crapshoot. Before we went aside from asking what type of crib I’m not sure I would have known what questions to ask the hotel but for future I will 1) ask what the crib situation is and 2) ask what the mattress situation is. I will always bring my own sheet.
Crib #2 was by far the best setup–the newest crib, most comfortable and safest with it’s properly fitted sheet. Crib #3 would be second, but it didn’t seem as comfortable (you could feel a crease in the mattress where the two halves would sometimes bunch up an overlap–they were connected, but it was thin on the fold if that makes sense) and they still gave me a flat sheet to put on the mattress. Crib #1…well…let’s just pretend that never happened.
Phew! A lot of words, but I hope helpful words! This experience does make me wonder how conditions can vary so much, and how the conditions aren’t generally safer. Seems like a liability on the part of the hotel! I’d almost rather them not have a crib than provide an unsafe/unclean one. So now, time to hear from you guys. Have you had “crib from hell” experiences? Do you normally travel with your own crib, or are you a co-sleeper? We’d love to hear your traveling experiences and advice!