Being a first-time parent comes with a lot of responsibility and questions! Chief among them the question: how long can a baby sleep in a pack n play? Raising a baby doesn’t come with a manual. It’s a combination of figuring things out as you go, reading baby books, parenting blogs (like mine), and getting expert advice from those who’ve walked the journey before.
I want to answer your question by viewing this topic holistically. I’ll explain everything you need to know about pack n plays including the pros and cons, whether sleeping in one is a good idea for your baby, and of course for how long.
What is a Pack n Play used for?
Getting your baby gear ready for your new bundle of joy is probably one of the most exciting things to do. But be that as it may, the task is equally daunting. The countless baby products and gadgets on the market don’t make the process any simpler. Do you pick a travel crib over a pack n play or a bassinet over a pack n play? Whatever your preferences, I can assure you a pack n play should definitely be part of your baby gear.
A Pack n Play one of those few versatile baby products that can be used to serve more than one function. It’s a place where your little one can get a good night’s rest, daytime nap, and also play in. In some cases, you can use one for diaper changing! You can use them for traveling, quick trips, or around the house. They are mostly small, easy to transport, and can be set up in different locations.
You simply have to pick one that’s lightweight, easy to pack and assemble like the Pamo Babe Comfortable Playard. The fact that it features a sturdy frame and comfortable mattress all at an affordable price is the icing on the cake!
Is it OK For a Baby to Sleep in a Pack n Play?
But is it a good idea to let your little one sleep in a pack n play? Granted, most parents do use it as an alternative for a crib or bassinet, but is it safe for sleeping? Pack n plays are safe for sleeping – also pediatricians agree. They consider pack n plays as generally a safe place for your baby to sleep.
You may be wondering: are there some alternative names for a pack n play? That’s right, there are: sometimes they’re referred to as a playpen or playard.
When choosing one, make sure it’s designed to meet sleeping guidelines for preventing SIDS. Breathable full mesh sides and a firm mattress should be present for safe sleeping. Much like the features found on the Graco Pack n Play Travel Dome. Most pack n play’s see-through sides enable visibility so your baby can be close to you and you can keep an eye on your munchkin.
You should use the mattress that comes with the pack n play as opposed to buying a new soft and thick mattress. Experts warn against using soft padded bedding. Why? Babies need to sleep on a firm surface especially when they’re younger. A firm mattress not only supports your little one’s skeleton but also prevents the risk of suffocation if her face ends up facing down.
Besides, by buying a different mattress, there’s a risk you might end up buying an ill-fitting one which might leave gaps at the edges. And your little one’s feet or hands can get trapped. Also, if you’re going to let your baby sleep in a pack n play, try to ensure you’re in the same room so you can closely monitor your child. As they’re extremely portable this shouldn’t be a problem.
How Long Can a Baby Sleep Safely in a Pack n Play?
There’s no set time frame that stipulates the general age to stop your little one from sleeping in a pack n play. Rather go with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Most manufacturers recommend babies stop using pack n plays when they exceed 35” in height and weigh more than 30lb.
Ideally, the manufacturer of your pack n play will state the recommended height, weight capacity, and age for their product. Always check with the product manual or visit the company’s website to get the correct information.
For example, with the Fisher-Price-On-The-Go-Dome, the manufacturer recommends you shouldn’t use this product when your child reaches 20lb, exceeds 27” in length, or begins to push herself up on her hands and knees (whichever comes first).
Here’s a nice video that demonstrates how a 4 day-old-child can enjoy a good sleep in a pack n play.
The Pros and Cons of a Pack n Play
Pack n plays offer numerous advantages. But I’d be lying if I said they don’t present a few disadvantages. I’ll list both advantages and disadvantages below.
- Safe for your baby because there’s no danger of your child falling out or getting hurt (if you stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations).
- Extremely mobile thanks to their portability and lightweight. The BabyTrend Nursery Center is an excellent example that’s not only lightweight but allows for a compact fold and has wheels for easy mobility.
- Made of baby-safe materials making pack n plays safe and comfortable for your child.
- Versatile since you can use it for different functions.
- Convenient because it allows you to keep an eye on your baby wherever you are.
- May negatively impact your baby’s emotional and mental development if you leave your child isolated for hours on end.
- Limit’s your baby’s ability to explore which may interfere with cognitive development.
- Some are too small and won’t give your child much space to play in.
- If left unsupervised, there’s a risk of suffocation, especially for younger babies. This is especially true if your little one happens to roll and lie on his face.
Do I really need a pack n play?
If you prefer keeping your baby close to you at all times, then yes, a pack n play will come in very handy thanks to its mobility.
What should I look for when buying a pack n play?
You’re likely to come across various pack n plays on the market which can make it difficult to make your pick. But to get the best buy that’s safe and comfortable for your child, check the unit’s weight capacity, overall weight, construction, mattress and whether it’s easy to clean, pack up and assemble.
Also, if you can find one with soothing systems such as integrated sounds or motions to keep your little one calm, that’s a plus.
Hopefully, I’ve answered your burning question on how long can your baby sleep in a pack n play. Parenting requires you to look for ways to make the task simpler. Purchasing a pack n play will certainly make life easier for you given its multiple uses. If you can take one thing away from this article it’s pack n plays are definitely safe for your little one to sleep in. Make sure you adhere to the manufacturer’s weight guidelines, ensure your child lies on his back and supervise your little one constantly.
But as brilliant as a pack n play is, don’t overuse it in case your child ends up feeling isolated. Give your little one room to explore and spend lots of time together bonding. These bundles of joys grow up FAST! Make the most of the time you have now.