49 answers

Infant Bed for Travel

My husband and I are planning some weekend trips this summer with our almost 6-month old baby. We've never had him sleep in our bed for fear of SIDS and crushing him. He co-slept in a bedside bassinet (Arms Reach co-sleeper) for 2 months, then he transitioned well into his own crib. We're scared that he won't sleep in the hotel crib if we rent one and we don't want to bring a pack n' play, which I believe is very uncomfortable for him now. The co-sleeper is too small for him too. We are considering having him sleep in our bed but we haven't done that even at home yet. Any suggestions would be great from moms who have traveled with their babies.

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I've been looking into this myself as we have a trip planned in July. My daughter will be 10 months then. She's been sleeping in her own crib in her own room since she was 3 months old. I would love for her to just share a bed with us during our trip but am fearful that it will be difficult to get her to sleep in her crib when we return. I can't imagine bringing the pack and play, especially now that the airlines are charging for second baggage. I know there are more compact versions - like Phil and Ted's travel cot or the Peapod Plus Indoor Outdoor Infant Travel Bed. Otherwise there are also companies that rent full size cribs, and anything else you could possibly need for your baby while on vacation -like www.travelbabees.com. Try this link:http://www.thenewparentsguide.com/baby-equipment-rentals.htm. Happy Travels!

1 mom found this helpful

MOST kids do fine in a Pack N Play - my son HATED that thing - we didn't have an option (he hated sleeping with us as well - hated sleeping in general actually!!) We traveled at least once a month the first year of his life, so were forced to tote that thing around. I still have no idea what we would do the 2nd time around (if we had a kid with the same issue). There are loads of other (somewhat expensive) options regarding travel beds for infants/toddlers - just go online - http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId... http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId...
Those are just 2 options. It's really just going to be an experiment - do what's comfortable for you. Personally, I would have preferred my kid just sleep with us so we wouldn't have to tote anything around, but he never liked to. It's soooo much easier now that he sleeps in a twin bed (has since 18 mths). It was a super easy transition & now we just have to take a bedrail with us wherever we go, KNOWING he'll sleep just dandy. Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

I have twins and when we traveled there was no way I was taking 2 pak n plays b/c the two of them wouldn't sleep in one pak n play. We also didn't want to use the old style cribs that the hotels have so we decided to give this a try and it worked. We brought 2 extremely flat pillows....and laid them on the ground with a blanket (their usual crib blanket). We just showed the kids to sleep on the pillow and they actually did it. It has worked great ever since they were 6 months old and now they are two. They can sleep anywhere and everywhere if I just lay any pillow on the ground. We started practicing at nap time before we left for our first trip. I figure if daycares can teach one year old to sleep on little cots I could teach our 6 months old to do it too. When we practiced I didn't use their bedroom just so it wouldn't get confused with them not ever being in the crib. I would use the office or even our bedroom. It really has worked out great for us. Have a great vacation!!!

1 mom found this helpful

we sleep with our son when we travel and most nights at home too, you just have to have him in between you so he does not roll of the bed, or keep him cradled in your arms. Sleeping with a little one does not cause SIDS and I have never come close to "crushing" him when we sleep- it is amazing that when you sleep with your little one you are very aware of him. plus a 6 month old is capable of lifting his head up and crying out if he did get caught or uncomfortable. I would try sleeping with him in your bed at home so you are more comfortable with it. other thoughts- some hotels may have cribs for you to use, also I read about this service in a AAA magazine, I cannot remember what it was called but you can call them ahead and rent baby equipment and toys for a small fee- they drop it off and pick it up- might be worth some research into
good luck and have fun on vacation

1 mom found this helpful

FYI- There has never been a case of sober parents rolling on and suffocating a baby. If you and your partner do not use drugs or alcohol before bed, you will not roll on top of a baby. Also, co-sleeping babies have a LOWER rate of SIDS. Tiny mammmals are not meant to sleep alone. There neurological systems are not fully developed and episodes of sleep apnea (where breathing stops) are common and are avoided when babies are near adults who are breathing steadily. Google "James McKenna" for the published, peer-reviewed studies. I know that co-sleeping is not for everyone (we have to struggle to make it work) but your reasons for not wanting to do it are not valid.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,

When we travel, we tried using one of the hotel cribs once and only once. Our son did not like it at all and the stupid thing creaked all night whenever our son moved. Needless to say, it was a very long night. Ever since then, we take our own pack-n-play. But since they are so bulky to take along on trips, I've been looking for an alternative myself. The best one I've seen so far has been an inflatable 'toddler size' mattress that lays on the floor. It's on the One Step Ahead (or Leaps and Bounds) website. Before we go on our next trip, I'm definitely ordering that one for our boys.

N.

1 mom found this helpful

Honestly the Pack N Play is the only way to go. Hotel cribs are not necessarily safe and are probably not cleaned as often as they should be. Are you are willing to go to bed at 7 or 8 pm (or whatever the babys bedtime is)with the baby? It is not safe for him to sleep on a bed by himself until you come to bed. You will sleep poorly since you are not used to sleeping with baby either. Baby will have to get used to the Pack N Play over time, but it's worth it. And they are actually comfortable (at least the ones made in the past few years). You also risk the baby getting used to sleeping with you and then refusing to sleep by himself at home. It could undo all the work you did getting him to sleep by himself in the first place. If he gets used to the Pack N Play, it will also be a safe place for him to hang out when he is older and more active while you shower for a few minutes (or load the car or whatever) when you travel.

Another vote for the pack n' play. I put a folded lap quilt under the sheet for a little extra padding, too. We just traveled this past weekend, actually. We started putting my son in the pack n' play a couple days early so he'd get used to sleeping in there while still in his own room--the hope was that he would sleep better because he was used to the pack n' play even if it was in a new room. So he wasn't dealing with a new bed *and* a new room. We also have him used to a solid bed time routine. Upstairs, pj's, books, in bed and falling asleep on his own...I think this has made the biggest difference! Anyway, he slept really well. We use a fan in his room for white noise. We've started using one when we travel too and that helps a lot.

Stick to his routine and make things as "close to home" as possible and that will go a long way. Good luck!

You'll find that most babies prefer sleeping on their tummies and once they can roll over by themselves, they usually will. Babies have been sleeping that way for years, (i'm dubious about the relation to SIDS other than instances where the baby smothered on think blanketing or sheepskins like in NZ, but who knows it's hard to prove), but I wouldn't worry. I would worry more about having an infant sleep in your bed, because, yes, you could roll over and smother them when they are so young. We used a play n' pack (in fact still do for our 2-yr old) and it's been great; it's good for them to learn they can sleep anywhere, not just in their own crib. That's my advice based on our experience. (we did use a crib provided by the hotel once or twice and that worked ok too; just make for sure that there is one available) Hope you have a great summer trip! Let us know what happens.

We always either used the pack'n'play (if we were driving to the destination) or the hotel crib (if we flew). Both worked fine. Just bring his favorite blanket and music.

Have fun!

My son always ended up in my/our bed. Every time I brought a bed or travel crib... He'd be fine at first, then he'd want to wake up and be with me. Which I felt was okay since I was always worried about him as well. Now he knows when we go on vacations he sleeps with us when we go to bed. And when he's at home he still sleeps in his own bed. :)

If you do end up trying the hotel crib, take a couple of your own sheets with you. Hotels use bleach on the sheets and the fumes from that are very toxic for him.

Our daughter slept in her pack-n-play at that age, and she didn't seem to find it to be uncomfortable. It's also pretty easy to throw in your trunk or check in at the airport. Definitely bring his favorite "lovie," and maybe even try out the pack-n-play at home (in a different room than the crib?) before you go.

Good luck!

-M.

Dear S.
I have travelled with my now 21 month old across three continents and the first time I travelled he was three month old. He slept with me everywhere and we all did pretty well. I can understand the fear of SIDS but I come from a culture where co-sleeping with babies is almost the norm and noone has heard of SIDS so just put him in your bed and enjoy!

Dear S.,
My children always did fine with hotel cribs. But I checked them out thoroughly once they were brought to the room just to make sure they were sturdy and clean, etc.
I actually had a little thing for my son that folded up to almost nothing and had a carrying case. It was a "travel port-a-crib". We took that thing EVERY WHERE. When I first got it, brand new at a yard sale if you can imagine, I set it up and put my baby in it at home. Just to check it out. We moved it around the house, took it outside.....so when we actually left home and put him in it, he was used to it and slept like an angel. I can't remember the brand, he'll be 13 in June, but it was really nice and I'm really tiny. I had no trouble folding it, setting it up or carrying it around. It didn't hardly take up any room in the car. We used it like CRAZY! If you use the hotel crib, just make sure that you have familiar smelling blankies or a snuggie of some kind. When we travelled, I let my son have my pillow case from home to snuggle. That's a whole nother long story, but it worked. It smelled like home and like mommy and he was fine.

My son took his first long trip at 3 weeks old when my mother in law passed away. My husband had raced to be with her so I travelled alone with two little kids. My son has been travelling ever since. Just enjoy your trip. Your baby will do fine.

I traveled to New Orleans (from California) with my daughter when she was 7 months old. We were there for my sister's wedding, as so we would be staying in a hotel in the French Quarter for 6 nights. I too was worried about whether or not she would sleep in a hotel crib. However I was pleasantly surprised. First of all the crib was not "full size" like she had at home. It was more like a pack&play, but was wooden and was the same height as the bed. What I did was to bring one of her crib sheets from home, as well as some of her light blankets. That way it smelled familiar to her. I also placed the crib right next to my side of the bed. It must have worked becuase she slept just fine while we were there. Good luck! I was so leary about traveling with my little one, but I'm so glad I did it!!

S.,

My kids are 8,2 & 11 months anytime I have traveled and didn't have the pack n play, my kids slept in their infant carseat. My kids have always been good sleepers in the car and being in the carseat seemed natural to them. Actually anytime my kids have had bad colds we have had them sleep in the carseat to keep them propped up. With my youngest we had one of those travel swings- low to the ground and compact. He was too big for the cradle and we weren't quite ready to put our daughter in her big girl bed. He had some breathing issues so rather than lay him flat in the pack n play we put him in the swing and he slept in it for almost 8 months and did not have any problems transitioning to the crib when we moved him over. When my daughter was 3 weeks old we travelled to Colorado and I made a little bed in a laundry basket- she slept great- now a 6 months old probably moves to much for that and might be too big. I was afraid of SIDS so the times we didn't have any of the above I slept on the floor with her, had a sheet below us and a light sheet on me and a flat pillow.
If you can the Pack N Play is the best way to go.

S.,

What a great question! I too have not co-slept with my child, nor will I with my second, however tempting it is at times when all you want is some good sleep. We keep co-sleeping out of the equation because it's healthier for our marriage and better for everyone to sleep well. Regarding traveling with a young child and where to put him... My husband and I do a LOT of traveling for vacations, and here's what we've found:
A pack and play is a great thing. We have brought our own as well as used the port-a-cribs in hotels. Both worked fine. I just always brought the same blankets and, as my little girl got older (about 1 year) a small stuffed toy. The consistency of the blankets and the place was key.
I'll admit that at first, it took some consistency on my part to make sure she always slept in the pack n' play. When she was young, we'd find that when we spent more than one day in a hotel, she'd sleep great the second night, going down without a fuss. However, on a road trip through several states where we spent one night in each place, it was a little tough to have her go down without crying a little. We made it though, and the older she got, the more used to sleeping in her pack n' play she got. It still works for naps and night time when we're away, and she's 2 and a half!
Whatever you decide, I would just be consisitent and confident with your choice. Babies love consistency, and will thrive on our confidence in their ability to adjust. Hope you enjoy your vacation!

Love,
S. J.

Your baby is actually less likely to die of SIDS in your bed. I have 3 and all have slept in the bed. Your much more aware than you think when your child sleeps with you and the closeness in wonderful!!

If you rent a hotel crib, it will almost certainly be a pack-n-play. We've asked for cribs at hotels a few times and that's always what they bring. Our son did sleep pretty well in it, however.

As for co-sleeping, I have some tips if you want to try it. We used an Arm's reach co-sleeper too, but now that he's outgrown it and is in his crib most of the night I just put him in bed with us if he wakes up and I'm too tired to rock him back to sleep. And I can say from experience that you just have a 6th sense about where your baby is in the bed and you would never crush them. Plus the SIDS risk is quite low for your baby by now. Just be smart about it: make sure there are no blankets or pillows by his face, and don't do it if you've had any alcohol because that will make you sleep harder. And put him on your side, not your husband's, because they don't have that sense of where the baby is. Another option is to have him sleep on the floor next to your bed. Just fold up a blanket or two and lay him on that.

We have traveled quite a bit with our son (now 11 months) so if you need any other tips let me know! Have fun!

Hi S.,
The numerous times that our son has slept in a pack and play have been his best and longest sleeps ever. All the Moms we know swear by them for travel. Cribs that hotels and other places provide are not stable or safe in my opinion. They have many options at babies r us, but we just borrow a friend's who rarely uses it. Have good trips!

It sounds like you are a worrier. Relax. Your baby will be fine if he feels you are relaxed. Try not to anticipate problems. I have 4 kids, my last one is 7 months. He is still in his pack n' play and I have no problems. However, I went on vacation at 5 months and he slept with us fine. I imagine having him sleep in another bed would work too. I try to get them to sleep in different places, not just bed so that when life if thrown at you, you have flexible kids. I sometimes need to nurse him to sleep first, but he will then sleep anywhere. I am sure you and your son will be fine. Enjoy your holidays and if he does wake up a few times, don't panic. If you are okay, chances are he will too.
Hope this helps. Good luck!

From much experience, either take your port-a-crib, or rent one at the hotel. The baby is used to sleeping alone and having space to move about without covers and other bodies. You will not sleep if he is in your bed, trust me. Bring something from his crib that he sleeps with nightly. He will do just fine in a different crib, don't worry.

My son is 8 months and he has slept in the packnplay on trips every since he was about 3 months old. He does just a well at night in it as his own crib. I think it is better to start him in it now, so when he gets older he is used to it.
Goodluck!

My 27 month old still sleeps in his Pack-n-Play when we visit my in-laws. It is plenty big enough for him! We use it whenever we travel and although he doesn't see it much, he knows it's his "away" bed and sleeps in it just as well as at home. Good luck!

What worked for my husband and i is to lay him in the middle with him on his own pillow.
This way he was at our head level and it was very clear that someone else was in the bed.

Also, he is 6 months old, i would not worry about the SIDS issue any longer.

I understand if others suggest getting a pac-n-play but for me, it's just another thing to carry around.

Good luck and safe travels

Hi

My name is A. Millette and I am an infant/child therapist and family/parent coach. I just read your e-mail. It is best that you try to not bring baby to bed with you when traveling as baby is about to enter a major period of brain development and will become very difficult to transition baby back to sleeping solo after your travels.

Please let me know if a phone consult might be beneficial to provide some alternative suggestions.
Also, please check out my website: www.angeliquemillette.com

Warmly,
A.

A. Millette, PhDc MFTt PCD/CD(DONA) CMT
PhD candidate Santa Barbara Graduate Institute
Marriage & Family Therapist trainee Child Therapy Institute of Marin
Postpartum & Birth Doula (DONA certified)
PO Box 824 Fairfax, CA 94978
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Infant/child/family in-home consultant & parent coach addressing:
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Hi - I've travelled extensively with my daughter all over the world; she's now 17 months. My recommendation is that you pack a bag of his bedding and rent a crib at the hotel. His bedding will provide that familiar smell and he'll find it comforting. The first night you should expect that he won't sleep as well as usual, but by the second night he'll be fine. Your other option is to get a room with two beds and put him on the second bed surrounded with pillows to make sure he doesn't roll off. You should still bring his bedding though so he has his own stuff.

I coslept with my daughter until 4 or 5 months and at about that age, had to stop because it gets really difficult to do it. The babies are too active and wanting more space. In the end, no one gets sleep so its a losing proposition. Plus, if you've never done it before, you can't expect that he will like it so late in his sleep training. Chances are that by now he's used to sleeping quietly on his own, which is exactly what you want. You'd hate to ruin a good thing! Good luck!

I have the Phil and Ted Travel Crib. It packs up very small and is long and narrow with high sides like a pack and play. If you have a regular size co-sleeper, you can set it up with all four sides up and the mattress on the very bottom. My son is still sleeping in it at 18 months.

I used m pack and play until my daughter was over a year and she slept great. Just curious as to why you think the pack and play is not comfortable for him.

We started traveling with my son when he was also six months old. The first time we thought it would be OK to rent the crib from the hotel. I don't know why I thought it was going to be a real crib. It was one of those pack and play things with blankets folded. I looked at that thing and decided that I wasn't going to put my baby in there! Luckyly, we had requested a king size bed and there was sofa bed in the other room. I slept with my son in the king size bed and my husband slept in the other room. I haven't found a hotel that offers a real crib for the baby. Our arrangement works well for us. Good luck!

We used the pack n play until they were too big for it. At 6 months old he'll fit just fine.

I would not advise co sleeping while you are on vacation. You are for sure opening up a new can of worms. Believe me I know. When you come home he may expect to sleep with the two of you at home. They you have bigger problems on your hands.
I would pack your own pack and play(hopefully it's newer) and what I always did made a difference to my kids. I put a thicker blanket UNDER the sheet for a little extra padding. The newer ones have a pretty good pad but this will add some extra padding and they will sleep comfortable this way.
You will all sleep better and you have a fight when you get home.
Good Luck Trish

Co-sleeping, when done correctly, is safe for your baby. Here is an article about safe co-sleeping, SIDS, and toxic mattresses. The toxic mattresses are what you need to worry about, rather than rolling on to your baby while co-sleeping.

http://www.healthychild.com/co-sleeping-toxic-mattresses....

J.

You can try taking a drawer out of the dresser and line it with bath towels or a baby comforter and place it on the floor next to you.

I was in the same boat. Bring your play pen. Start now by having your baby taking his naps in his play pen in your room; sleep a few nights a week in it in your room. My other suggestion that works too...infant carrier. It's snug and you can keep it close to you.

T.

Honestly the pack n play is your best bet.
1. you won't worry about rolling etc.. (but I have never known a parent who has actually rolled on their baby) but if you aren't used to co-sleeping you won't sleep well.
2. after taking multiple trips baby will get used to the PNP and think of it as one of his beds.

Honestly neither of my girls have ever found the Pack n play to be uncomfy. They have spent weeks at a time sleeping in one when we visit my father on the east coast. My husband and I sleep on an air bed and that isn't comfy for a baby at all. We've done countless trips with both as babies (oldest now 4) neither have ever had an issue sleeping in it.

I just put a sheet over it (you can buy if you don't already have compatible sheets) and lay them down.

When we didn't tske a pak n play we took a piece of egg crate and made her a little bed on the floor so long as you are staying someplace clean. My daughter then started making her own little bed until she was about 11 yrs old.

S.,

I would bring a pack and play. Hotel cribs in my experience are not up to standard and not comfortable for the baby. Good luck!

Molly

I have 3 children, 17, 15 and 12, and we travelled a lot when they were babies. I took a pack n' play and used it until they were around 2 without any problems. We also used hotel cribs very frequently without issue. Bring his blanket or lovey, anything cuddly that he sleeps with on a regular basis and do not worry about him sleeping--he will. It is more the disruption of his routine that will keep him awake, rather than the surface that he sleeps upon. Bring a sheet from home for the hotel crib and he will be fine. Have fun!

At nine months my daughter has already traveled a lot. And it works great. They can be so flexible. I always call the hotel ahead of time to see if they supply a crib. Most do not charge extra for it. I just tip the housekeeping when they deliver it. I bring a couple blankets from her bed for her familiarity with the new bed. If the hotel does not have a crib, I bring a pack n' play. She fits great, it usually fits great in the hotel room, and she is plenty comfy. Have fun, and keep traveling!

We are co-sleepers, and if your only concern is SIDS then REALLY don't worry. I have read a lot on the subject and much like the medical world's confusion on breastfeeding I think they have co-sleeping all wrong. In fact there is research saying that it has the opposite statistics on SIDS. If your concern is with keeping a pattern then go with the crib on a trip, but don't do it for safety.
The hotel cribs are usually pack and plays. My daughter was never a big fan, but if you put an extra blanket down under the sheet it makes it softer.
If you do decide to co-sleep when you are travelling my suggestion would be to make yourself feel better, either sleep with him only on your side (if dad is not used to co-sleeping he might be less aware of baby in his sleep) and put a pillow between the baby and the edge of the bed, or one on the floor. The first night you probably won't sleep very well being hyper aware of baby next to you, but it really is a very bonding experience and you can get in tune with his sleeping if you let yourself.

Hi S.,

We will be traveling with our 14 month old this Saturday and we booked a hotel crib but we are also bringing the Peapod Plus just in case she doesn't like the crib the hotel provides. Our friend used it for a month in Asia and her son (17 months) had no issues with it at all and it worked out. We got it at Lullaby Lane for $69 ($10 coupon). We also plan to use it on the beach for some coverage from the sun, so perfect for your summer plans!

This is your big sis by the way! :)

Hi S.,

It is so delicious sleeping with your baby and a real treat! My son will only sleep with us when on vacation, so I tend to enjoy it rather than resist it. Unfortunately, our sleep is disrupted becasue you're very conscious of the little one and they do move a lot. My only advise would be to make sure he can't roll off the bed if he goes to bed prior to you. Enjoy.

My kids have always slept fine in the pack n' play when away from home. My son did so until about 2 1/2, and my daugter still sleeps in one on our trips and she is 21 months. Considering that kids can fall asleep sitting up strapped into a carseat (usually with their heads slumped to the side), I don't think a pack n' play would be terribly uncomfortable for your child. Hotel cribs are ok too, but they are somewhat institutional (at least the ones we have had at hotels) and for us have been less desirable than the pack n' play.

My son used a pak-n-play when we traveled (or when he stayed at grandma's) until almost 3.

Hi S., I know you posted this a few days ago, but I just went through this - literally got back from my trip last week - and thought I would share my experience. I have also been considering co-sleeping so we decided to use a short vacation as a test. The thought being that we would do the co-sleeping while on vacation and if we didn't like it (me, hubby or baby) then we could just slip back into our normal routine when we got home. It worked out exactly that way. I think I underestimated how wriggly our son is at night and neither my husband nor I slept particularly well (baby slept like..well..a baby) so when we got home we just put the little man back into his familiar old bed, which he seemed quite happy to see, and we are none the worse for it. Hope it works out for you.

I agree w/all the other posters....pac-n-play. Most hotels these days are even using them instead of the old style travel cribs. My husband refuses to travel w/our pac-n-play so we've always rented what the hotel offered & it's worked out just fine. We don't travel w/the pac-n-play cuz it's heavy & cumbersome to carry. Unless you're flying &/or want to eliminate the amount of stuff you're carrying, I say buy an inexpensive, no-frills pac-n-play. Babie's R Us has a great selection in-store & on-line. Go w/a Graco, they're the easiest to open, set-up & close & get the little sheet that covers the mattress. Good luck!

So far I have not found a hotel that would offer a real crib. They always just give you a portable crib that is similar to a pack n play. Therefore I always brought my own pack n play. We took our first trip with our daughter when she was 6 months old as well. It was a 3 night trip. To prepare her to get used to sleeping in the pack n play, I started to have her nap in the pack n play at home twice a day in a different room 2 weeks before our trip. It worked when we eventually had to make her sleep in it during out trip at the hotel. However, the pack n play was really not that comfortable, and it was much softer than her crib's mattress. On our next trip when she was around 16 months, I took another mom's advice and cut out a memory foam mattress in the shape of the pack n play and brought it with us. We placed the foam in the pack n play to make the bottom firmer. I think it was a bit more comfortable but still she didn't sleep as well in it. However, I never co-slept with my daughter since she was 4 months old because nobody slept well that way (regardless how less comfortable the pack n play is). My daughter tosses and turns 360 degrees in her sleep so co-sleeping is not an option for us. Hope this helps.

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