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5 signs of a baby-friendly hotel

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How to pick a hotel that gives you what you need to be comfortable and relaxed with your new infant. (iStock)

Congratulations, new parents, on your bundle of joy. Your life has completely changed, you’ve never been as tired in your life—and you definitely could use some R & R. What might surprise you is that these first few months before your baby starts to crawl is a magical window for your first family vacation together.

Infants typically take regular naps and don't need a lot of bells and whistles to keep them occupied, so rookie parents don't need a roster of family-friendly activities or a slew of recreational amenities to ensure a great first trip. Even so, it’s important to choose a hotel that provides what you need to be comfortable and relaxed. Here are five signs of a baby-friendly hotel.

Cribs on demand. If your hotel can lend you a crib and set it up in your room for your baby, it means it’s accustomed to hosting families with babies and toddlers. Even if you co-sleep or plan to bring your own travel crib, it’s still a good idea to ask if cribs are available. Another good idea: Learn how to childproof your hotel room.

Wheelchair accessibility. If a resort is fully wheelchair-friendly, it’s also stroller-friendly. Easy navigation without having to dodge obstacles and staircases can make all the difference when it comes to fully enjoying a property. Got a reluctant napper? A long stroll around a large, sprawling property can be just the ticket for scoring some quiet time.

In-room fridge and microwave. Dozens of all-suite hotel chains offer full kitchens and floor plans with separate living and sleeping areas, which make them the ultimate in baby-friendly accommodations. Still, all you really need is a fridge for cold storage and a microwave to heat baby food and sterilize bottles and utensils. In a pinch, an electric travel kettle is a handy take-along.

Kid-friendly dining. Your baby might be too young for PB&J sandwiches and chicken fingers, but ask if there’s a kid’s menu anyway; it’s a tell-tale sign that the hotel’s restaurant caters to children. Babies need a safe and comfortable place to sit during family mealtimes, so inquire whether high chairs are available at all of the on-property dining options. Arriving for an early dinner seating ensures that you’ll get a table and be served promptly, before the wait staff and kitchen get busy.

Low-key evening entertainment. A resort with an on-property nightclub may remind you that it’s been a while since you painted the town red. Still, chances are you won't appreciate loud music pulsing below your hotel room after a certain hour. At many an island resort, the pool area is transformed into a music venue at night, so request a room away from the action if your baby is a light sleeper.

Corinne McDermott of HaveBabyWillTravel.com contributed this to MiniTime.com.

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