It’s taken a little while, but you are finally settling into a routine with your new baby, and you are ready to start going out to visit family and friends. You will need something for the baby to sleep in. Grandma can’t wait, and excitedly goes shopping and tells you she has bought a Pack ‘n Play for her adorable grandson. You have a few questions about it, like how long can baby sleep in a Pack ‘n Play?
There isn’t a single straightforward answer to this question, as it depends on a few factors, such as the size of the Pack ‘n Play, the design and manufacturing materials, and, of course, the size and age of your precious little cherub.
What is a Pack ‘n Play?
A Pack ‘n Play is a portable crib. It is collapsible and usually folds up into a compact bundle that fits neatly into the bag that it comes with. While it is primarily designed for on-the-go parents who frequently go out with their baby for the day, or on overnight trips and vacations, it has also become very popular for people who want the convenience of a crib that can easily be moved around the house from one room to another.
A Pack ‘n Play is a handy item to keep at the grandparents’ house for frequent visits. If they don’t have space for a regular crib that can be a permanent piece of furniture, a Pack n Play that can be packed up is a good option.
It can also be taken on camping trips when you go off on a family adventure. When you go on vacation, the baby might feel more settled if he is in his own familiar Pack ‘n Play, rather than a strange crib.
A Pack ‘n Play usually consists of a folding metal frame, surrounded by walls made of breathable mesh fabric. This allows air to circulate and is also transparent so the baby can see out.
Modern Pack ‘n Plays often come with additions such as a bassinet that can be attached for use with tiny babies, a changing station, and storage pockets.
How Long Can Baby Sleep In a Pack ‘n Play?
There are many different models on the market, and Pack ‘n Plays come in different sizes. Therefore it is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations.
The standard size Pack ‘n Play is usually suitable for babies up to 30 pounds in weight, and 35 inches in height. An age guide is roughly up to 2 years old. The bassinet that is available with some models is mostly suitable for babies up to 15 pounds.
You will need to take your baby’s development into consideration. Some babies are born climbers and love trying to climb everywhere. An agile baby who fits within the above guidelines may be able to climb out of his Pack ‘n Play at about 18 months. As your baby gets older, you will need to observe him carefully to be certain that he cannot play Houdini and escape.
Can a Newborn Sleep In a Pack ‘n Play
A newborn can safely and comfortably sleep in a Pack ‘n Play. The bassinet attachment is specially designed for newborns and tiny babies.
Is a Pack ‘n Play Safe?
Yes, Pack ‘n Plays are safe. When shopping for one, make sure that the model you select meets the standards of the CPSC – the Consumer Products Safety Commission. This will ensure that there are no small parts that can injure your baby, and the materials that have been used are safe for the baby.
If you have a second-hand Pack ‘n Play, check it carefully for damage. There should be no loose threads or tears in the fabric. This could be a strangulation hazard. The frame should be solid, with no cracks or broken pieces. The metal bars should be straight so that the Pack ‘n Play stands firmly on the ground, and cannot be toppled over. The hinges should be stable and should lock firmly into position when opened so that it cannot collapse and fold with the baby inside.
In those early days with a newborn, it is often convenient to use the bassinet. This must be securely attached to the frame, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
A changing station is a handy accessory that comes with some models. It is useful to have this so that you can change a baby’s diaper quickly and easily. Once again, make sure that it is attached securely.
There is nothing more frustrating than opening up a baby’s dirty diaper, only to find that you have run out of wipes to clean his cute little bottom. Try to keep the changing station well stocked with everything you may need, such diapers, creams, and wipes, so that you never have to leave him alone on it, even for a second, to turn your back and grab the wipes out of the drawer. It is in that split second that he could fall off and be seriously injured.
Where Should You Place the Pack ‘n Play?
The best safety practice is to position the Pack ‘n Play in an area where there is nothing within reach. Once a baby can pull himself up into a standing position, he should not be able to stand up and reach out and touch anything.
Your Pack ‘n Play should be placed on a flat, even surface, where all the feet are firmly on the ground. This will ensure that it is stable and cannot rock or topple over.
Do You Need a Mattress in a Pack ‘n Play?
The base of the Pack ‘n Play is a hard, stiff board. It needs to be hard and solid in order to be stable. Therefore, babies will need a mattress for comfort.
The Pack ‘n Play mattress should be made of flame retardant foam. It should have small holes in it to allow for air circulation, making it breathable. The mattress should be exactly the right size and should fit snugly into the Pack ‘n Play, without any gaps around the sides.
If You Have a Pack ‘n Play, Do You Need a Crib As Well?
A regular crib is far more solid and durable than a Pack ‘n Play. It is also an attractive addition to your baby’s nursery and is easy to keep clean with a quick wipe. But if you like the convenience of something that is portable, or if you cannot afford to buy a crib, there is no reason why a baby cannot sleep in a Pack ‘n Play every night.
What Bedding Do You Need For a Pack ‘n Play?
All you really need is a clean sheet made of a washable material. We like pure cotton, as it is a natural fabric and will help to keep the baby cool. You should not use a pillow, crib bumpers, or heavy blankets. These are dangerous and pose a risk of suffocation.
Keep the temperature in the baby’s room at a steady 65°-72° Fahrenheit. On cool nights, dress him warmly and perhaps consider putting him in a sleep sack or swaddle. He will then not need blankets.
What Is The Best Sleeping Position?
When you put the baby down in his Pack ‘n Play, put him on his back. According to the AAP, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the back is the safest sleeping position for a baby. Studies have shown that babies who sleep on their backs are at a significantly lower risk of SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – every parent’s worst nightmare.
Sleeping on the side or stomach can be a choking hazard in small babies. If they should vomit or regurgitate slightly, they can inhale it, which can be very dangerous.
How long a baby can sleep in a Pack ‘n Play is not affected by his sleeping position. Once he can rollover, you do not have to worry if he rolls on to his side in his sleep.
Can a Pack ‘n Play Be Used As a Play Yard?
We all have those days when you are so busy, with so much to do, and the baby is crawling around the house, getting into everything. Sometimes you just need to contain him for a while, giving you some time to get things done without worrying about him eating the cat food or throwing his pacifier into the toilet.
If you set up your Pack ‘n Play where you can see and hear your baby, and he can see and hear you, it can be very useful to use it as a play yard. You can put him in it with a couple of board books and a few favorite toys, and let him entertain himself for short periods, leaving you free to do what you need to, but knowing that he is safe.
A Pack ‘n Play is a practical and useful item to own if you have a baby. If your friends and family ask what you need for your baby shower, you might want to add a Pack ‘n Play to your list.