How to Turn your Hotel Room Into a Baby-friendly Home Away from Home

Posted on

As most of you already know the baby, Matt and I just recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas.

Before going on our first away-from-home trip with the infant I was extremely nervous about how we were going to survive without all of the comforts of home. For example I rock the baby to sleep every night and there is no way I could convince Southwest to let me bring my rocking chair on board the plane!

Here is what we learned about turning a hotel room into a baby friendly home:

  • Most airlines do not count baby related items towards checked luggage (pack and plays, carseats, etc) meaning they are free. Contact your airline prior to your departure to find out what they consider baby related items. 
  • Call your hotel prior to your arrival and find out if they have a pack and play they could leave in your room and how and what they clean it with. We had very lovely accommodations at the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas. It was a great source of relief for Matt and I when they had a suitable pack and play option! One less thing to carry!
  • Embrace the improvisation!
improvised sink tub!

Improvised sink tub!

We put a towel down and filled the sink up and washed the baby!  Unfortunatly our sink wouldn’t hold water, but since we had two we shifted the baby between each a few times in the process.

  • If your wee one is still in diapers invest in some puppy pee pads to change your baby on.  While we stole these from our pediatrician, they are available on Amazon.  Our kiddo frequently takes advantage of “open air” time to relive herself, so these are highly recommended.  No one likes explaining the wet spots on their hotel sofa.
Puppy pee pads to save the day!

Puppy pee pads to save the day!

I chose to change the baby on the couch in order to save my back. I put her toys around the couch to entertain her while I quickly changed her diaper.

The last and most important thing to remember is that it is a major change for your little guy or gal and you have to keep that in mind if your perfect all night sleeper starts waking up every two hours while on vacation!  We forgot our sleep sack which created a few every adventurous evenings.

Good luck and happy travels!

-Rachel

 


Back to Reality: Leaving Las Vegas

Posted on

The last day of vacation is usually pretty rough. No one likes having to leave play land and head back to the gloomy grips of reality.

The baby and I were extremely lazy and slow this morning and it was glorious. If you can help it try and depart your vacation destination between late morning and early afternoon. Packing with an awake baby is never easy. By allowing yourself plenty of time to pack and check out of your hotel room it allows for everyone to remain calm and sane!

After we finished packing baby and I went for a short jaunt in the pool! This was the wee one’s first time in the water! I was clearly more excited about it than she was!

Poolside at the Trump!

Poolside at the Trump!

I love food, and have always dreamed of what the famous Las Vegas super buffets were like! Matt met us at the Wynn and I finally got my wish. We went to the Wynn buffet for lunch and it was everything I dreamed it would be! This is where I discovered yet another reason why babywearing and our Bitybean is the best ever!

Nom nom nom!

Nom nom nom!

Really enjoy buffets, but don’t want to leave your infant at the table? BABYWEAR! Who had two hands free to fill multiple plates of dreamy food? This girl! I <3 my Bitybean for making my Vegas buffet dreams a reality and providing a safe and comfy place for the baby to nap while I gorged myself!

Matt rolled me back to the hotel so we could catch our shuttle to the airport. Our Bitybean got us through airport security/ TSA easy breezy again. It was very warm in the jetway and unfortunately we were stuck there for about 10 minutes while waiting to board our plane. I was so thankful the Bitybean is super breathable otherwise baby and I would have been deep fried!

Babywearing on a plane!

Babywearing on a plane!

One short uneventful plane ride later we made it home!

Recap How to Survive a Plane Ride with an Infant:

  • get an asile seat in the very back of the plane
  • dance and bounce in the back galley until they shut the doors.
  • nurse, bottle feed, or provide pacifier during take off and landing
  • come prepared to provide a new toy or favorite toy that had been previously hidden every hour of the flight
  • as soon as the seat belt light goes off get up and go bounce/dance in the galley
  • hydrate
  • be prepared to pull out all stops. Matt and I made funny noises and silly faces, sang ridiculous songs, tossed baby in the air, played peek-a-boo, forward faced and held that in almost rapid fire sequence for the entire 1.25 hour long flight. She only cried once on decent!

How have you survived a plane ride with an infant?

– Rachel


Day 3: Las Vegas with an Infant!

Posted on

Writing this a day later because we fell asleep super early last night!

Anywho, this was probably one of my most favorite days in Las Vegas. Mainly because I got to see the traveling Warhol collection at the Bellagio, but also because it solidified my babywearing is awesome stance!

For breakfast baby and I walked over to the fabulous Wynn Las Vegas and we were greeted with a lovely NO STROLLER sign on our way in.

Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 9.36.18 PM

 

No Strollers = no worries with this babywearing family! I insolently marched through the lobby while carry the babe in our Bitybean. The no stroller stance lead me to believe that the Wynn Las Vegas was not going to be baby friendly, but to my surprise they had changing tables in the handicap stall of every restroom. Each toliet also had an ashtray next to it, but this is Vegas and nothing should surprise me anymore 😉

I decided to head down the strip after discovering they charge 15$ for a short stack of pancakes! The baby and I meandered through the Palazzo and then found ourselves at the Venetian food court enjoying our $4.50 pancakes!

After breakfast we took the monorail down to Bally’s and walked across the street to the Bellagio. FYI if you are going to see the fountains at the Bellagio they start running at 3pm. My favorite artist in the whole wide world is Andy Warhol. No strollers are allowed in the Bellagio Fine Art Gallery, and I proudly marched my Bitybean wearing tush in there and enjoyed my 45 minute guided audio tour. The baby loved the cow wallpaper but then fell asleep for the rest of the exhibit! Silly babies!

Then we went back to the hotel for a quick nap before going to meet Matt at the convention center. I can’t stress enough the importance of making sure both you the caregiver and the baby get enough rest on vacations!

For dinner we took the monorail down to old Vegas to check out Circus Circus and the Riviera.

Where's the food!?

Where’s the food!?

If you can get past the smell of 25 years of smoke Circus Circus is by far the most family friendly place in Las Vegas in my opinion. I refrain from using the term smoky because there was not smoke in the air, but it smelled like there used to be a lot of smoking in that place. There is an entire level of arcade games, and in the center there is a small stage where about once an hour there are acrobats, trapeze artists, and other circus themed acts that perform.

71472_10100304681891915_1869749409_n

 

The Rivera was where we ended up for dinner. While they did serve 58 cent Pabst in a plastic cup there was nothing really spectacular about that casino. Everything was perfectly acceptable, but there is nothing worth while there. I do not recommend going there for anything more than super cheap drinks.

After a short ride back to our hotel it was off to bed for the lot of us!

Recap of How to Survive Vegas with an Infant

  • babywear! Go where no stroller bound baby has gone before.
  • nap! No one likes a cranky baby or a cranky caregiver because they skipped their nap time.
  • Cheap beer can be found at the Rivera
  • Circus Circus is super family friendly
  • try new things! There is nothing holding you back but you.

-Rachel


Day 2: Las Vegas with an Infant

Posted on

Today baby, Bitybean, and I went to the Flamingo and the Mirage!

We are quickly learning that it is quite easy to get around Las Vegas without a stroller! Tight spaces, elevator is out of service, wiggling through crowds = no problem for this babywearing family!

Flamingoes at the the Flamingo!

Flamingoes at the the Flamingo!

Next we walked over to the Mirage and went to check out the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. I actually think this one was a better value than the Shark Reef exhibit at the Mandalay Bay. There is more room for the wee ones to run around and it is a lot less cramped feeling. After the baby’s morning nap in the Bitybean by the dolphin pool we nursed, and played peek-a-boo without being disturbed. It was wonderful!

photo (5)

Lions and tigers and... no bears :(

Lions and tigers and… no bears 🙁

Another money saving tip: Pack snacks. I had baggies of crackers stuffed into the diaper bag and I kept refilling the same water bottle all day long.

Helpful advice of the day: HYDRATE! Much like whenever you see a comfy bench you should take advantage of it. Whenever you see a water fountain HYDRATE! Dehydration headaches are the worst!

Check back in with us tomorrow for more from our Las Vegas with an infant adventure!

-Rachel


Day 1: Las Vegas with an Infant!

Posted on

Today the baby, Bitybean, and I went up and down the strip all by ourselves while Matt was at the Drobo booth at the NAB conference!

Our day began by suiting up in our super compact little Bitybean and then heading down to the Las Vegas Conference Center to bring Matt his wallet that he forgot. We caught a shuttle from the hotel and headed off!

My favorite creatures in the entire world are sharks! Knowing this can you guess where I wanted to go?! Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef of course!

Here is the thing about Las Vegas, you will walk miles to get anywhere. Currently, there is a labor dispute with the taxi cab drivers. All taxi cab drivers in Las Vegas are protesting and thus no cabs to be found. I really really wanted to get to Mandalay Bay but it was forever away from the conference center.

Here is how we finally made it to Mandalay Bay for a fraction of the cost of a cab.

  • Walked from the conference center to monorail station and took the monorail to MGM Grand
  • Ask the very nice people at the concierge how to get to Mandalay Bay (Most of the casinos are an underground labyrinth and failure to stop and ask for directions could result in walking around in circles FOREVER!)
  • Took the walk way to New York New York
  • Then take the walk way to Excalibur
  • Board the free tram to Mandalay Bay
The baby could use some practice on her scared look!

The baby could use some practice on her scared look!

 

super impose-tastic!

super impose-tastic!

Here is What We Learned Today about Traveling through Las Vegas with an Infant.

  • Plan for frequent rest stops. Wee ones go wee-wee frequently and need to feed frequently.
  • Do not wait until your little one is screaming to trying and find a place to feed or change. Not all bathrooms are created equal and we discovered that there are a number without a child changing station. Finding a quiet bench to nurse an infant is like trying to find a four-leaf clover. I learned that whenever I saw a quiet bench I should offer the baby the boob no matter if she was rooting or not.
  • Always stop and ask a hotel/casino employee for direction. The baby and I seriously did laps around the bowels of the MGM Grand before we even saw the light of day!
Had to stop for the obligatory slot machine picture!

Had to stop for the obligatory slot machine picture!

  • Babywear if you can. There was not always a close elevator by the stairs we wanted to go up or down. Having Stella strapped to my chest was awesome. The Bitybean was great because I could leave it buckled on my waist while changing the baby without the straps touching the ground (I am only 5’2″ so this is impressive). I could also very easily take the Bitybean on and off without needing another person’s help. This was key for a Las Vegas Day without Matt. The baby loves the lights and loved being high enough to see the lights of the slot machines and peak at the critters in the Shark Reef.
In the shark tunnel!

In the shark tunnel!

I am saving my most helpful piece of advice for the closing. After a long day on your feet in Las Vegas the best thing you can do for those tired and achy feet is go to the ice machine and fill a trash can of ice up. Soak your feet in some water with ice in it for between 5-10 minutes. The ice will help reduce the swelling and help your feet recover for the next day’s adventures!

Check back in with us tomorrow to see what craziness we got ourselves into!

-Rachel


Las Vegas: Travel Day!

Posted on

Today was the big travel day and the baby’s first flight!

I ended up adding one of our pail liners and some puppy pee pads to our packing list and forgetting my swim suit and pajamas =/ The pail liner is for the baby’s soiled laundry and the puppy pee pads are for changing the baby on while in the hotel.

Here’s what we learned:

1 – if you are not paying for an extra seat for the baby BRING THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE. Thankfully the kind people at Southwest were super understanding of our first time parents blunder and all was not lost.

2 – If traveling with two adults leave one with the baby and all of the luggage while the other parks. I am so very proud of myself for being able to maneuver the large Drobo, duffel bag, bug out bag, carseat, backpack, diaper bag, and baby from the curbside to the counter to check the bags all by myself! This would never of happened if we were bringing the stroller!

3 – The airport security people at the San Jose International Airport were very wonderful and accommodating. I was able to walk through the metal detector with the baby still in her Bitybean, but I had to have my hands swabbed. The whole process took less than 15 minutes from the we entered the TSA line until the time we had our shoes back on!

Madie it through airport security with no problems!

Madie it through airport security with no problems!

4 – BABYWEAR! There is no need to lug a huge bulk stroller through an airport. The baby was happy and slept when she was tired and enjoyed seeing all of the sites. I enjoyed having my hands free and not trying to avoid everyone with the stroller. The Bitybean was perfect for the airport. It was not bulky which was perfect for managing four bags, 2 carry-ons, and the baby!

5 – Definitely get the back row aisle seat if possible. I was able to bounce around in the back galle while the rest of the plane boarded and it was really easy to jump in and out of the seat in order to change a diaper or move around to calm the baby.

6 – Be prepared to nurse, have bottles ready, a pacifier ready, or a clean finger to suck on the entire take-off and descent. Wee ones lack the understanding that swallowing will pop their ears. The sucking action forces the swallow! The baby actually fell asleep on the descent into Vegas!

The baby fell asleep on descent with Matt's finger in her mouth!

The baby fell asleep on descent with Matt’s finger in her mouth!

7 – While airport and hotel shuttles don’t like wasting a seat for a car seat and request that you hold he baby.  Not a big going two blocks in the hotel shuttle, not exactly ideal when traveling at highway speeds.

8 – If you are going to Las Vegas with a baby stay in the Trump Hotel. The room is huge, the arm chairs are perfect for breastfeeding, and they provide a very clean pack and play with no extra charge. We also enjoy the free internet!

Welcome to Las Vegas!

Welcome to Las Vegas!

This is my first trip to Las Vegas and I am so excited to start exploring tomorrow! Check back tomorrow to see where babywearing has taken us!

-Rachel


Packing for Vegas: Too Much or Not Enough?!

Posted on

Holy crap who thought it was a good idea to take a 4 month old to Las Vegas, NV?! Matt is going to be at the Drobo stand at NAB. Instead of spending another week apart we decided it would be best for the baby and I to tag along! I had to wait almost 30 years to get to Las Vegas and my child will get there before she is even a year old! Blergh!

luggage_final

 

After an hour or so Matt and I packed everything we think we will need for our little miss into 3 bags. Our Ju Ju Be Be Hip diaper bag is acting as our carry-on luggage. By using the diaper bag as a carry on/my purse I do not have to worry about packing it in our suitcase! My Bug Out Bag from my days in the military is going to be the baby’s checked luggage. We were originally going to use a duffel bag for the baby’s things, but decided upon the Bug Out Bag because it is huge and is a back pack so we can carry it. If we were really trying to save money we could use the Bug Out Bag as a carry-on, but since this is our first time flying with the baby and we have to take Matt’s B1200i Drobo with us we thought it would be best to check the dang back pack! We decided against renting a car. Thus, the car seat is coming with us! We have our handy Britax carrying case for our Britax Chaperone car seat!

What Does One Pack for a 4 Month Old?

We are going to be in Las Vegas for 5 nights and 4 days, and here is what we packed!

checked_bag

1 – Car Seat

2 – two size small Halo Swaddlesacks

3 – Honest Company Diapers and 7th Generation Diapers (we didn’t have time to order more Honest Company). I am not handwashing cloth diapers in Las Vegas so we are using disposables for the week!

4 – four packs of Pampers Flushable Kandoo Wipes We loves these wipes for traveling because they are smaller than normal sized wipes so they fit better in our diaper bag.

5 – Babyhawk Mei Tai We are not bringing a stroller and enjoy babywearing options in case the baby spits up on one! I chose all of the carriers because they contain no metal for TSA and they are all lightweight and super breathable for the warmer Las Vegas climate.

6 – Bali Breeze Iris cotton gauze wrap. Again no stroller and my baby is the queen of spit and tends to have blow outs in disposables so I am coming prepared!

7 – numerous amounts of spit rags. One can seriously never have too many spit rags. I am going to try and make friends with the hotel cleaning people and see if I can get extra wash cloths to use as spit rags!

8 – super cute swimming suit for the baby! It is going to be 80! Heck yeah!

9 – super cute and some what matching plastic swim pants!

10 – assorted bucket hats because sunblock is not safe for infants skin. Instead of sun block the baby is going to be completely covered as much as possible and we will try and stay indoors as much as possible between 11am and 4pm when the sun’s rays are the strongest.

11 – assorted clothes. Again, our baby is the blow out in disposable and spit up queen so we planned for about 2 outfits a day with 2 evening dresses for a couple of nice dinners. I packed pants so as to block the sun.

12 – assorted socks. Again to block the sun while she is in the carriers. We planned for at least 2 a day because she sometimes will pee on them if I fail to change her diaper fast enough

13 – tolietries. Since the baby is much more prone to diaper rashes while in disposables we are bringing our Terra Naturali Baby Bum Bum Balm We also packed baby lotion and baby shampoo/body wash. We prefer Say Yes To Carrots!

All of these items fit conveniently in the Bug Out Bag minus the car seat!

Packing the Carry On!

The multi-tasking diaper bag! This week it will be my carry-on, diaper bag, and purse!

carry_on

1 – 10 Honest Company Diapers. The baby goes between 10-12 diapers in a day and I am hoping that amount should get us through the half of a day we are going to spend in the air port.

2 – Ju Ju Be Be Hip Diaper Bag – I really enjoy the long strap on this diaper bag because I extend it out when I am wearing the baby and it will fit around both of us.

3 – assorted spit rags. To reiterate, one can never have too many spit rags! We frequently use them to cover a public bathroom changing table, and as napkins when one is not readily available!

4 – Kandoo flushable wipes

5 – Assorted toys. I strategically hid the baby’s favorite toys about a week ago. I have a toy for every hour of our journey so that she will be constantly occupied and amused by something “new”.

6 – extra clothes. My baby is a spitter and she loves to pee the instant her diaper comes off. To be prepared for this I brought extra clothes. I specifically chose these clothes because they do not have any metal snaps, buttons, or fasteners. This is because I do not want anything to set off the TSA metal detectors.

7 – nursing cover. I do fully support women being all boobies-to-the-wind and nursing without a cover. However, I am not comfortable with every Tom, Dick, and Harry watching in our my baby and my very special nursing time!

8 – Bitybean – As you can see this carrier is super compatible and is smaller than some of the babies toys! It has no metal parts and I plan on using it to carry the baby through airport security/TSA lines and on the airplane.

9 – plastic diaper bags. We are not always around a trash can when we need to change the baby. These bags are great to put dirty diaper and wipes in. They have handles to tie the bag off until we can find a trash can to dispose of the icky stuff!

Voila that is all we are packing for this trip to Las Vegas!

I will post tomorrow night to report how our airport and airplane experience went!

– Rachel

 


Fluff Mail Alert!

Posted on

Guess what arrived in our mail box the other day!!

DSC_4146

Our very own BITYBEAN!

I am very excited to be reviewing the Bitybean from VEGAS! That is right this little blog is on the move. We are heading to Las Vegas next week to tag along on Matt’s business trip!

Starting Sunday we will be posting about airplane travel with a 4 month old, money saving in Las Vegas, and babywearing in our Bitybean!

Hope you will join us for the ride!

-Rachel