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Portable Cribs & Basinets

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Bassinets & Cradles

Portable Cribs
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Pack N' Play Safety for newborn

Sept 2008

I am wondering how safe it is to allow newborns to sleep in Pack N' Plays. Everyone tells you not to use crib bumpers, but it seems that people ignore this advice when putting babies to sleep in Pack N' Plays which have a built in quilted bumper. Am I missing something? Is the bumper removable? Sara


Pack n plays are big. Newborns are tiny. If your newborn can roll over the the edge of the pack-n-play, my guess is the ''newborn'' is healthy enough to handle the little bit of padding that the P-n-p has (which, at least on mine, is miniscule relative to a crib bumper). Don't sweat the small stuff
Our son slept in a pack and play for the first year of his life. The model we had did not have a quilted bumper, just mesh sides. It seemed to work for us. used a pack and play

Looking to buy a basinett or cradle

April 2007

We're getting a bassinet for our second baby and want to buy a separate mattress so we don't have to use the foam one it comes with (b/c of offgases, etc.). But I'm not sure which type of mattress to get. I've seen a lot of postings about futon mattresses for cribs, but do they need a lot of airing and do they trap moisture? And are they or do they get lumpy? Another option I've seen is a thin (1.3-inch thick) latex core and wool mattress. Any recommendations for or warnings against this? I've also only looked online. Does anyone know any good stores locally to get an organic cotton or organic wool/latex or whatever other organic bassinet mattress? The bassinet/cradle, BTW, not yet purchased, will be the Futura Cradle by DaVinci/MillionDollarBaby. If anyone hates it, I'd love to hear why! Thanks! Anon


I wanted a cradle for baby #2 and was very picky about safety. I considered the DaVinci/Million Dollar Baby cradle but rejected it after finding out (1) it is not JPMA certified, and (2) people reported that the pin holding the cradle (to stop the rocking motion) constantly fell out. Also, I realized I didn't want a rocking motion because I have a 7 year old and this sets up a potentially dangerous situation for a newborn.

I found a FANTASTIC cradle at Babies R Us, made by Babi Italia/LaJobi Industries. It is a beautiful solid hardwood, not sure what but from the grain patterns I'd say oak, we have the natural color but it also comes in white. It has a glider motion (gentle side to side --) rather than rocking, which we feel is much safer for a young baby, and a very secure locking mechanism. The construction is solid and the engineering design is excellent. Since this is baby #2 I have a lot of experience with baby products and know what to look for and what to avoid. I wish this had been available for baby #1. Also, it is on rolling casters (which can be locked or unlocked) and can easily fit through our 28'' doorways, so we can roll it from room to room to keep our daughter with the rest of us. Mobility was the original reason we got it even though we already had a crib). It was $150 but we have gotten so much daily use out of it that I don't regret the expense one bit. Standard crib mobiles can attach to it too.

And fyi: when our baby got large enough (she's very tall) to get legs/arms through the bars, we got one of those mesh breathable bumpers from Babies R US; they are made for a crib but come with two pieces, a smaller piece for the drop side of the crib and larger piece for the remaining three sides. That larger piece fits perfectly around this cradle - it attaches with velcro so you can fit it to just the right size. It's a roomy cradle (it's larger than the Davinci/MDB) so our loooong 26 inch 4 month old daugher is still able to use it. Regarding the mattress, the one the Babi Italia cradle comes with is thin, so we got the standard thicker cradle mattress that Babies R Us sells and that has worked out just great. anon


Where to borrow/rent a portable crib for visiting friends?

May 2007

Looking for a crib or pack and play to borrow or rent for about a week, as old friends are visiting and can't bring their crib for their 14-month-old. We'd prefer to borrow something for free or rent something inexpensive than to buy something new, as they'll only be here for 5 nights. Any advice about where to borrow or rent a crib would be great! jl


There are companies that rent cribs and other baby gear - one of the biggest is called 'Baby's Away'. Their website is: www.babysaway.com Good luck - Susan
What I've done is bought one at a resale shop (like Child's Play on College) and then resold it back to them after the use. They tend to cost about 40 new and you'll get 1/2 that upon reselling - though it might behoove you to keep it around for future guests. My mom does the same thing for high chairs, etc when we visit. OR, you could ask for one on the Marketplace - to borrow or buy.
Try asking on freecycle. Sign up at freecycle.org. Freecycler
Check out http://www.thenewparentsguide.com/baby-equipment-rentals-california.htm

Pack & Play as a Crib?

Feb 2007

Hi - I have an infant who has outgrown his bassinet. I don't yet have a crib for him as his older sibling has not transitioned yet to a big bed. My questions is how viable is the pack and play as a regular sleep option for the next several months? I've generally thought of them as short nap locations. Are there any issues? Thanks!


The only issue I see is that it's much harder on one's back to bend over that far to lay the kid down. Plus, my daughter likes us to ''pet'' her for a couple minutes after we put her in the crib, and I think it would be really hard to do that night after night with a pac n play. anon
I was in the same situation w/my now 3 1/2 year old and 18 month old boys. We moved the little one from the bassinet to the pack and play at about 8 months and then to his brother's crib when he was 16 months. Worked great! And I don't regret waiting since the older immediately dropped his nap once he was free to roam his room. Been There
We used a Pack and Play as a crib for our baby from the time he was 5 months old until he turned one. We got a custom-cut foam mattress for it and bought the bedsheets that are specifically designed for portable cribs. It was great!! Any time we went anywhere overnight, he had his actual bed with him. Mary
Our baby slept in a Pack and Play for the first 4 or so months of his life. He slept really well, too. I did notice that the pad had started to sag a little by the time we moved him to a crib, but it didn't seem to be a problem. In fact, it kept his head a little higher, which was his preferred sleeping position anyway. It was also really nice because his bed was very familiar to him whenever we went anywhere overnight. Emelie
I am the last person who should be giving advice about sleeping, but, my 1-year-old still sleeps in her pack-n-play every night. We have a lovely crib for her to sleep in, in her big brother's room, but because he is up all night and takes 1- 2 hours to go to sleep every night, she sleeps in the pack-n- play in our office. It was totally a temporary solution that has now turned, 9 months later, permanent. The only problem is, now when I do try to get her to sleep in the crib, for a nap for example, she won't sleep. She doesn't relate sleep to the crib as she does to the pack n play. So if you decide to go the pack n play route, know you are not alone. shauna
We used a Pack and Play as a crib for our youngest until she was almost 10 months old, because her older sister was using the crib. We would have kept using it, but her older sister transitioned to a toddler bed. We lined the bottom with a bedsheet from a single bed - folded over many times and tucked underneath securely. Because it was folded over several times, it gave her some padding, so I think she found it comfortable. She seemed to sleep fine, at least. The only issue was that my husband complained about having to bend over so far to lift her in and out of the Pack and Play. It didn't bother me that much. cclocke
Hi there, I used a pack and play as a crib for four months when my daughter was 8-12 months old (we were temporarily living abroad, and renting a furnished place with no crib). I bought an extra mattress for it, which was like a little futon-y thing, thicker than the usual mattress-type thing that comes with them, and it worked just fine. I think I also folded a twin sized blanket and put that under the crib sheet, just for extra comfort. She slept, well, like a baby. Abbi Waxman
We've used the Pack and Play for overnight sleep during trips and have had no problem. I could certainly see using it for a longer period without any issues. anon
I have one that I don't use. They don't seem to have enough support to prevent aches and pains. Look around craigslist and other sites for a free crib to use temporarily. anon
i think it's absolutely fine! my year old sleeps in one some of the time (we're sort of rearranging our bedrooms right now) and she doesn't sleep any differently than when she's in fancy crib. i've known several people who have never gotten a crib and just used the pack and play (especially when they had an older child who was still using a crib and they didn't want to buy a second one). don't worry about it! anon
we have had our two month old in the pack and play as a crib substitute since about 2 wks. she is doing fine. the one we have does have the bassinet attachment so we don't have to reach down as far to get her out. but, i don't imagine there is any reason not to use it. especially if it is just for a few months. we will be moving out infant to our sons crib in a few months. beth
We used the pack and play with our 1st child, mostly for naps, and with our 2nd, both for naps and night sleeping (for a significant period of time) and didn't have any problems. There may be some safety warnings you need to be aware of, but I can't recall them right now. I think once they pass a certain weight/height then you need to consider other options. anon
My daughter used a pack-n-play for nighttime and her crib for naps for probably 6 months. No problems. go for it
Our second child didn't sleep well in his crib and did much better in the pack n' play so that's what we used exclusively until he learned to climb out of it (at around 18 mos). Because we live in a small house, we actually used 2 pack n' plays. One that was in our room where we'd put him down to go to sleep, and one in the room he shares with his sister which we transferred him to so we could sleep in our room alone. We liked that the walls of the pack n' play are soft,and we also purchased a piece of dense foam cut to fit the bottom of the pack n' play to make it a little softer (he was able to turn over at that time). do whatever works for you
We used a pack & play as our son's only sleeping locale for months... maybe even a full year between bassinet, and yes, crib. We did add two blankets for a little extra padding, but not so much to create a concern about suffocation or anything. I highly recommend this option!! We'd pack it up and take it with us on trips, and he felt totally comfortable away from home because he still had his primary, familiar sleeping place with him. We plan to do that with our second, too! pack & sleep momma

Cradle vs. co-sleeper

October 2006

I am pregnant with my second child and trying to figure out what type of sleeping arrangement I would like this time around. We coslept with our first child until he was about 5 months. It had been my intention to use the cosleeper, but he didn't sleep well in it and it seemed so hard and not very comfy. Neither my partner nor I slept very well with the baby in the bed. So, we would like our second child to sleep in our room for the first few months in order to make nighttime nursing easier, but not exclusively in our bed. I'm trying to figure out what she or he might sleep in. Those cradle cribs appeal to me, e.g. the ones that are suspended from two arms with locking castors so you can put it in different rooms, and that have a mechanism which allows you to lock the cradle or allow it to swing. However, I haven't spoken with anyone who has used one. Did you use one of those? What did you like or not like about it? Used cradles are frequently for sale on craigslist and BPN with the note ''hardly used'' and I have to wonder why? Any feedback on cradles or other sleep systems would be great. Note: we also tried a Moses basket and didn't like it at all because it creaked and made so much noise when you put the baby in or took him out. It always woke him up. Also, we do have a crib in the kids' bedroom, but my older son sleeps in it now, and I'm in no hurry to move the second one out of our room. Thanks! Second time around


We used a Pack-N-Play with the bassinette option in our room for Baby #1. It was fine, but he outgrew the bassinette part before we were ready to move him to his crib. Using the Pack-N-Play crib part for everyday use was back-breaking and he often woke up on the return to the crib if he had fallen asleep nursing. For Baby #2, we bought a used wooden cradle at a garage sale - they're often on the BPN and Craigslist as well. We LOVED it and so did the baby. He slept in it for five months - and never needed the swinging option, but it was good to know it was there in case he did. It couldn't really go from room to room that easily, but didn't take up too much space and was a godsend. I'd sell you ours, but we let it go long ago. Best to you with this big family change! And, good luck with this choice Cradle lover
You mentioned that the co-sleeper was so hard and I agree that the mattresses they come with are awful. Our solution was to get a futon for it so it was more comfy. We bought ours from Tiny Birds Organics online (a great site by the way with lots of wonderful baby/kid things!) and have really liked it. Our daughter is 7 months and still sleeping on it Susan
We had a cradle and loved it. We could move it around pretty easily and kept it just a couple feet from our bed. We didn't rock it that much, but it was nice to do on occasion. I think they are advertisd as hardly used beacuse their use shows such little wear. The baby doesn't move much at that age, as you know. Ours still looked pretty new when our baby was 4 or 5 mnnths, and we moved her to a crib Elizabeth
One other alternative is the Amby Hammock (www.ambybaby.com). I know one person who absolutely loved hers, and I'd be curious to hear from others who have one if they like theirs also. Kara, kara at vuicich dot com
Since you already have a co-sleeper, you may just want to get a better mattress for it. The ones that come with it are, indeeed, quite hard. If you google ''organic cosleeper mattress'' you can find lots of nice ones that are made to fit arms reach cosleepers. And, of course, you can probably get ones that aren't organic as well Amy
Our son's cradle worked fine for us until he was about three and a half months old. That's probably why so many used ones for sale say ''barely used''. The reality is that they have a short lifespan. But it was necessary for us since his full-sized crib didn't fit in our bedroom and we didn't want him in a room alone at such a young age. We also had been scared out of co-sleeping in any form.Our guy is a pretty good sleeper where ever he is so the transition to crib wasn't too bad either. We still have the monitor in our room on all night. The only thing I would suggest about buying the bassinet is to see and inspect it in person. The mattress on the one we got (by Simplicity) was a very thin piece of foam covered in vinyl and after about 2 months it began to make my son sweat, which exacerbated his eczema. I wound up customizing it with high density foam and a cotton cover. Also, we used the light at the head of the cradle and the vibration feature A LOT. Hope this helps, Bridget Bridget
Have you considered a bassinette? I really enjoyed having our baby in that for the first 4 months. We really used it a lot in all different rooms of the house when all she did was lay around. I don't know if I've seen a cradle that also has wheels like a bassinette but if they exist I guess you would have the advantage of being able to rock the cradle. i love my bassinette
We were in the same situation where we didn't want our son in bed with us but wanted him close by for the first 3 months. We got the Graco 3-in-1 bassinet and LOVED it. It has adjustable heights, lockable wheels making it easy to move around and basically three functions:

1) part of one side comes off so that you can use it like a co- sleeper attached to the bed 2) you can use it like a regular bassinet 3) you can put it on it's highest height and continue to use if for a while as an extra changing area for a while longer after the baby out grows it for sleeping.

Our bed was too high to really use it as the attached co- sleeper, so I would just have the bassinet next to me at night, and then wheel it around the house during the day as needed, or to put him in the sun for his jaundice. Plus it takes up a lot less room than the regular co-sleepers.

The reason why you probably see so many ''barely'' or ''gently'' used craddles or bassinets is probably because you really aren't supposed to use them past 3 or 4 months. To me it was worth the money, especially when you can turn around and re- sell it or pass it on to someone else. You can look up ''3-in-1 bassinets'' on Amazon and I think you'll some some other brands beside Graco anon


Where to find a wooden portable crib?

May 2006

We are looking for a portacrib - the old-fashioned wooden kind that look like a small crib and can break down for travel or storage at grandma's house. Do these still exist? My son won't sleep in a pack'n'play (mashes his face against the mesh sides) and can't sleep in bed with us, as he is very sweaty and restless. We are thinking that he might take to one of the wooden ones as he sleeps well in his crib at home (and nowhere else!). If anyone knows where to get one, or has one to sell, we would love to hear from you! dreaming of overnights


Our daughter sleeps in just such a portable crib. We purchased it Babies-R-Us in Union City for under $100. The manufacturer was Delta. Elizabeth

Travel bassinet for small space in my office?

March 2006

Have you used a travel bassinet for your infant? I am looking for something small and compact for travel and for naps. Sometimes I have to bring my baby to work with me and I do not have room for a pack n play. Thinking of something like this: Kidco Peapod Travel Bed http://nursery.babycatalog.com/portable-bassinets/peapod-travel-bed-401001 or Travel & Trundle http://nursery.babycatalog.com/portable-bassinets/infant-travel-n-trundle-37400. Was it well made, comfortable and did your baby sleep in it? Thank you. On the go


We tried the Toddler version of the travel and trundle product you are considering and I would not recommend it at all. All the pieces are of very thin foam, which has to disassemble to stuff into a little bag, therefore, the sides are pretty flimsy and and uneven...they didn't really do much to contain our child. Plus, we found it too much of a pain to have to assemble and disassemble the thing. I don't know if the other product is better, but we regret buying the travel and trundle and have not used it more than a handful of times, each with no success in getting our child to actually sleep in it. anon
Wow- the timing of your question regarding the Pea Pod Travel bed comes just as I've been ready to unleash a smear campaign. I too was excited to find a three pound travel bed for my 8 month old girl. It's compact, it's light. But I have some SERIOUS CONCERNS about it. First of all, it stinks of vinyl. Maybe it just needs some airing out. Secondly, my girl is not a light sleeper but when you zip the flap up, it wakes her up. And finally, I believe that she was nearly suffocated it it!! We used it a couple of weekends ago and heard her crying and coughing- she had rolled herself into a corner and had her face pressed up against the plastic. The corners are angled. When we pulled her out she was gasping and coughing for about a minute- it was really, really scary. I hate this tent.If you're still determined to buy this item, I'll sell you mine for cheap! I'm looking forward to hearing what recommendations people come up with because I too would love to find something simple and comfortable that doesn't weigh 20 pounds and include mobiles. Jessica

Outgrowing pack'n'play

Feb 2006

In the past, our 21 month-old child has slept in a pack'n'play when we were away from home. However, he is close to the 30 lb. weight limit and there's not much room for him to stretch out anymore. He sleeps in a crib at his grandparents' homes but this won't work for weekends in Tahoe or other family vacations. Keeping him in the bed with us is not an option, as he would rather play than sleep. He also tends to keep us up when he is sleeping, due to lots of moving, kicking, etc. What other solutions have people discovered? Any ideas would be much appreciated. Grateful Mom


my 2.5 year old is a champion sleeper, but only in a crib like environment. she won't sleep with me, thinking it's play time and has never slept on a sofa, the floor or anywhere else.

i recently took her to visit family who don't have either a crib or a pak n play and was panic striken that she wouldn't sleep. about a week before we left, we started talking about how great sleeping in a big girl bed was going to be. when we got to my family's house, we visited the big girl bed which was a mattress on the floor, sat on it, put her pacifier and doll in it, talked about how nice the blankets were, etc.

she had a bit of trouble falling asleep the first time - i had to stay until she was out - but after that, was excited and proud to sleep in her big girl bed. when she woke up, she didnt get out of the bed, but called for me.

now, she wants a big girl bed at home ;-) well rested vacationing mama


How about an air mattress? Even if he rolled off, he wouldn't fall very far... I believe Aerobed makes one especially for kids with raised sides. Elaine
Hi There, I know you will cringe, but have you thought about just letting your little one sleep in a bed? Our's moved to a toddler bed a few months before his 2nd birthday. When we traveled, we put extra pillows around his bed and tucked the sheet/blankets/duvet in tightly. You can also invest in a portable railing so he won't roll out. He might experiment with getting up. But be diligent, as with any other change in your child's life, he needs your guidance and patience.
The kiddie Aerobed. It has slightly raised edges, sort of like an integrated bolster, so toddlers can climb in and out of it if they want, but won't accidentally roll off. It's sturdy, packs down pretty small when deflated, and is large enough that an adult can actually curl up on it too (handy for nursing or cuddling a baby to sleep and then sneaking away to your own bed!) We bought ours on sale at Target last year for $70- something. (We usually cosleep when traveling but use the Aerobed at home, and we've brought it on trips too.)

There are a couple of other options for portable beds, mostly foam pads with a raised edge piece -- fabric with some sort of stiffener inside -- that goes all the way around. The raised edge is only a few inches high, so it's not confining, but again it should be enough to prevent accidental rolling off. These beds roll or fold up into a duffle bag type thing. The Travel-n- Trundle is one brand; I think One Step Ahead carries it. These are smaller than the Aerobed, which is good if you'll have limited space, but also seem to me to be less durable and less comfortable. You can also get smaller air mattresses that fit inside a sleeping bag. ReadyBed is one brand; many but not all of these come with licensed characters on the sleeping bag. Also available at Target. We have one that works very well for our preschooler, but I wouldn't use it for a toddler because it is quite narrow and there's no raised edge to help keep the kid ON the bed.

Finally, your cheapest option: Use the mattress from your Pack- n-Play on the floor! It won't be as comfy as a thicker bed, but it's better than just a blanket, and without the sides of the pen in they way, your child will have more room to stretch out. If you want to create a sense of containment (though no actual confinement) you can put pillows around the pad. Have kids, will travel


Using a ''portable crib'' on a permanent basis?

Sept 2005

We are expecting a baby in a few months (if all goes well), and live in a small apartment. We would like to stay in this apartment despite its size, in part because we know we will be moving again before the baby is 18 months old. Meanwhile, we'd like to keep the baby stuff as compact as possible. Does anyone have any experience using a portable-size crib on a permanent basis? Were you able to find the appropriate sheets and bumpers to fit it? Right now, I have the Delta Fold-a-Way Portable Crib, at http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.gsp? product_id=2355979 in mind. It LOOKS like it ought to meet crib safety standards, though I would of course call the manufacturer to double-check before purchasing. It takes a 38'' by 24'' mattress. How long do you think it would be before a baby is likely to outgrow that? What problems do you see with using a smaller-than-normal crib? Elizabeth


Try and see how it goes. You will learn soon that with kids long term plans don't always work... One person that wrote a review on Amazon used for 2 years. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-reviews/B000056HKI/103-1272524-5207043
We used a port-a-crib for nearly a year for our 18 mo. old son after his sister was born, and had no issues at all. You don't really need bumpers as the sides are really soft. Most kids' stores sell sheets for it. We just used a wet pad and a bottom sheet for it and then put his blanket on him. Worked just fine. Sally Flinchbaugh
We bought the same portable crib you have (Delta), for similar reasons - we have a small place and regular cribs just seemed unnecessarily big for such a small person. Babies grow, of course, but our son is still using the same crib at 15 months, and is not yet in danger of outgrowing it. To me, it seems like a cozier environment for him than the larger cribs.

We have not had a problem buying sheets, of which we keep ~4-5 in rotation. They are a ''standard'' size used in all portable cribs and pack-and-plays, so you can find them online, at Babies R Us, and other places. You just won't be able to do sheets in a coordinating nursery theme, of course. We even used a standard-size crib bumber and wrapped it around a bit more.

Other things - the mattress that comes with the crib seemed a little flimsy, so we ordered a portable crib mattress ($20) that adds another couple inches of softness. The one downside of significance is that the portable crib doesn't let you drop the side down with only 1 hand, so you have to always remember (always, always!!) to lower the side before standing up with your sleeping babe for the delicate crib transfer operation! One bonus - it's on wheels, so if you have wood floors you can push it a bit like a stroller/carriage, which can be soothing. Porta-mama


Our 18-month-old has been napping and night-sleeping almost exclusively in a pack-n-play (portable crib) for the last six months or so. She still fits in it (though it's now quite crowded with all her favorite books, stuffed animals, etc.).

I'm no expert, but I don't think it would be a problem for even a newborn to sleep in a regular portable crib; if it has mesh sides, you probably wouldn't need a bumper, and I think most portable cribs come with a tight-fitting sheet. The only downside might be that, without one side that drops down, as (some) cribs have, it might be harder to put the baby down without waking her or him. robin


My second baby slept in a portable crib in the dining room until he was 18 months old. He was in a bassinet from birth to 3 months or so, then we bought the portable crib. The crib came with a thin mattress, that I didnt think would be comfortable, so I folded some blankets and placed them underneath the mattress. He didnt seem to mind. I used a cushy quilt as a bottom sheet (second kid, not as worried about sids) but a regular crib sheet would probably work. Or maybe a bassinet sheet... I used a regular bumper that doubled over itself at the ends. There was no downside to the portable crib, except that, becasue of the makeshift aspect to it, it definitely did not look as ''cute'' as the other crib in the first kids bedroom. He was in it until 18 months or so, but truth be told, he outgrew it at about 16 months. the baby doesn't care how cute the crib is
The crib you mentioned looks fine for a permanent (up til 18 months or so) crib for your baby. My only concern when you said ''portable'' was that I was picturing the plastic/metal ''pack & play'' cribs, which don't have adjustable heights, so you'd be bending over a lot, to get the baby in and out...(bad for your back), but the one you've picked looks like a smaller version of a full-size crib.

I don't know about sheets; we've always used regular crib-sheets for our pack & play when traveling, but they're too big, so we have to tuck them under the mattress. But I bet there are sheets available for your crib mattress; it's just a matter of finding them (try WalMart or Babies R Us). When the baby outgrows the crib, you can use a twin-size futon on the floor or low frame, or get a ''toddler bed'', available very cheaply at Ikea and other places. heidi


Why not use a regular pack-n-play? (Or what I have always referred to as a playpen.) Padded mattress covers and sheets for them are available at any of the baby stores, and many come with features like a bassinet that sets inside the frame for when the baby is a newborn. We take the pack-n-play with us everywhere, it's so handy. In fact,ours is a hand-me-down from my sister, who used it as her daughter's crib till she was at least one year old. today's portable cribs are pack-n-plays
We used the Graco 'pack-n-play' until our child was 8 months old for very similar reasons you describe. It worked out just fine. It did get a little harder on our backs when she got older because the pack-n-play is closer to the floor. Other than that, we could have kept using it until she was 2 or so without a problem. The model you describe has good height so that probably won't be an issue. I don't know about sheet sizes but they no doubt sell their own sheets if the size is not standard dimensions. Congratulations and good luck. RK
We used a Pack & Play as a crib for the first 8 months or so of our son's life -- we wanted him in our bedroom, and a regular-sized crib simply wouldn't fit. We just used the crib insert with some sheets we got at a local kids' store (regular crib sheets are of course too small, but I think that portable cribs are pretty standard sized), and didn't bother with bumpers as the sides of the portable crib were soft anyway. The advantage was the size, and it worked very well before our son was 6 months old and learned to sit. He was a pretty quiet sleeper, didn't fuss or roll around too much.

The disadvantages appeared as our son got a bit older. The first major problem occurred just after the time our son learned to sit up. At about 8 months, he could pull himself to a sitting position by grasping the soft side of the crib. He then could see us in the room, and would not go back to sleep, but would sit up and cry until we came to pick him up. This eventually led to us setting up the full-size crib in his new bedroom in the lower floor of the house. Otherwise nobody was going to get ANY sleep. We had tried sleeping with him in our bed, and he woke up every 45 minutes or so, so that simply was not an option.

The second disadvantage was fairly minor, and we noticed it after we moved our son to his new bed -- the crib insert was not terribly sturdy, and as my son had grown older and heavier, it had started to sag a bit in the middle; so it probably wasn't as comfortable for him as it had been in the beginning, when he was tiny. If this had been the only problem, we could have simply removed the crib insert, and put the sleeping pad at the bottom of the portable crib (it's suggested that's what you do with older babies and toddlers at night anyway -- the crib insert is just so you don't have to bend down so far to put the baby to bed when you still have to do head support) -- but the original problem would still have remained. Karen


I'd just get a Pack-N-Play. You can usually find them used on this network or on Craigslist. If you find the one that has the bassinette on top for infants, you should be all set for the time frame you mentioned (18 mos.) I think the bassinette holds them for the first 3-4 months. And, best of all, you can take your baby's very own bed along when you travel. No sleep troubles out of town! Anon

Pack and play as the crib?

April 2005

Hi, we have a 4 month baby and she is sleeping is her pack and play. She is sleeping in our bed and hte pack and play is smaller than a crib. I would like to know experiences from other moms. Is this ok? Do I need to have a better mattres?. Is this bad for her back? Or is better to have a real crib?. Thanks Maria


Definitely buy a crib. Pack N Plays are fine once in a while, but they are not have to meet the safety standards that cribs do. Given the amount of time your baby will be sleeping over the next few years, it is really important that she is in a safe environment when she sleeps. Cribs are safer than Pack N Plays. Liz O.
I also used my pack-and-play as a crib for a while. My baby was tiny and I used the bassinet feature of the pack-and-play until she outgrew it. We didn't have a crib yet and didn't know she'd outgrow the bassinet so fast, so the only bed we had for her was the pack-and-play. It worked fine, but got very tiring to bend over in half in order to place her down in it or pick her up out of it. Also, for us, as the weather got colder last winter, we didn't like her sleeping only a couple inches off the ground, where the coldest air was. So we got a crib earlier than expected. How wonderful it was to be able to stand up straight and put her down in bed! (because the mattress is a couple feet off the floor) The crib certainly helped us (our backs) more than it helped her. She still sleeps in the pack-and-play on trips. It's easy and convenient. sue

Bed for toddler who's outgrown the portable crib

Oct 2004

My son just turned two and still happily sleeps in his crib. We are going to be out of town for the holidays this year and I don't think he'll fit in the pack n play anymore. What have others done with the sleeping arrangments for their toddlers while away. Sleeping in our bed is not a realistic option for me because he moves around so much I don't get any sleep. There also isn't an extra bed where we'll be staying. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks! Stephanie


Make a ''pallet'' for your son out of a piece of foam or lots of blankets. Put it in a corner so it seems secure like a crib or bed, and line up stuffed animals all around him. If he ''falls out'' he'll only roll off the blankets and it won't hurt or probably even wake him. Best if you can do this against an interior wall of where you're staying so it's warmer. Laura
You might try trading in your pack and play for a similarly designed playpen. When we transitioned our 10 mo old from our room to his, we put him ''temporarily'' in a playpen to sleep, He was so comfortable there that he still sleeps there at two and a half, and has plenty of room. When we go on trips we can bring it, and it folds up to just a bit bigger than the pack and play. anon

21-mo-old has outgrown the Pac n' Play

Oct 2002

My 21 month old is a little guy, but I guess he's kind of long, because he has outgrown his pac n' play crib. His head touches one end and his feet the other. He does sleep curled up, but he doesn't look too comfortable in there. He is not a super adventerous boy, and isn't attempting to climb out of his crib at home (he loves it, in fact), but he doesn't really like that portable crib anymore! We just came back from another vacation where our kid was in bed with us the whole time, and unlike our king at home, we were in a squishy queen sized bed and it was pretty bad news. What do parents of toddlers do when they travel? He isn't ready for a big boy bed, he'd roll right out of it...the floor doesn't seem like the greatest option (and I'm not sure he wouldn't just stand up and walk around),so where can he sleep when we go away? Thanks for the advice, folks! Molly


My child had outgrown the portable crib for our last vacation, too, and I was perplexed because he loves the crib and doesn't want to sleep in a bed (and I didn't want him in ours either). I ended up putting him in the sofa bed at our Embassy Suites hotel, and arranging all the chairs and cushions around him to make a giant crib-like contraption. Those soft mesh safety rails would have been a better choice, though. Be warned that kids who like their cribs like to roll up against the sides, and if there are no sides they will roll until they roll out. To my surprise, he called us to get him out of bed every morning, just as if he was in the crib! Fran
There are some great portable bed rails fold compactly for travel and open up to make a twin size bed practically crib safe. I think mine is Safefy First and I love it. All 3 of my children started traveling with it between 18 and 22 months. Beware though, it's not usually long afterwards that they want a big kid bed at home, too. Julie
There are companies who specialize in rentals of baby equipment in many areas. I found some in Lake Tahoe by doing a search on yahoo... something like ''crib rentals - lake tahoe.'' Most hotels or motels can also offer a crib if you call ahead and reserve it. My own child won't sleep in a pac n play or a crib anymore, so we tough it out with me sleeping in a bed with him, bed pushed against the wall on one (his) side, and my husband in another bed. You could try surrounding him with pillows to keep him from rolling, or even invest in one (or two) of those rails that slip under the mattress for young children and take it with you when you travel. I think they are available at Target. Good luck! Traveling with Toddlers
If you want an official bed, try:

http://www.onestepahead.com/jump.jsp?lGen=detail&itemID=769&itemType=PRODUCT&iMainCat=117&iSubCat=15&iProductID=769

Or:

http://www.onestepahead.com/jump.jsp?lGen=detail&itemID=1114&itemType=PRODUCT&iProductID=1114

But you can accomplish pretty much the same thing with a quilt (or the pad from your Pack-n-Play) and a couple of firm pillows or cushions on the floor! That's what most people I know have done if/when they don't want the toddler in Mommy & Daddy's bed.

Another option would be a ''big bed'' with a bedrail. Bring your own or ask the hotel for one (many have them available). He may be more ready for a big bed than you think. Holly


Pack 'N Play Mattress Alternative

June 2004

I'm wondering if anyone has found an alternative to the cardboard ''mattress'' that comes with a ''Pack 'N Play''-type portable crib. We are planning a long roadtrip with our daughter this summer and while she sleeps pretty well in her crib, when her sleep is disturbed I think it may be due to the uncomfortable ''mattress'' (I know I wouldn't want to be sleeping on that). Of course one option is to get a piece of foam (not a suffocating type) cut to fit but I thought maybe there is a real product or handy alternative? road trip mom


I know, those Pack 'N Play ''mattresses'' are not comfy! We found a mattress that fit into it (on top of the flat cardboardy one) at a baby store in SF on Clement Street. I don't remember the name, but it's quite a large store, close to Arguello. I went in there and told them what I was looking for and the woman went right over to a stack of different-sized matresses and pulled one out. Be sure to get the dimensions before you go shopping because another guy at the store was going to sell me the wrong size. But it fits perfectly and our daughter slept really well on hers.
We had the same issue. There are mattresses you can purchase for around $20. Locally, ROckridge Kids has them. I wanted to have mine sent to Grandma's house so I bought mine on-line from a family business at

www.babyfactory2u.com

It was nice - 3 inches thick. She slept like a dream. Baby's R Us online also sells them.

I also bought an egg-crate foam mattress (really a dog bed but the same size as the pack 'n' play) because it can be rolled up to take up less room. We use it on road trips. I got one for a friend who is travelling all over Europe with her 11 month old. Her daughter is sleeping great. The store is on San Pablo and I believe its name is Famous Foam Factory. Enjoy! Shari


The Consumer Reports Guide to Baby Products (2001, p. 71) advises: ''If the play yard is used for sleeping, remember that the mattress pad is thin for a reason: to prevent a child from becoming wedged between the pad and the sides. Never add extra mattresses or padding, and don't use blankets or other types of soft bedding, which pose a suffication hazard.'' So you probably should not get any type of mattress for the Pack 'n' Play. Sorry. David

Checking a portable crib on the plane

Jan 2002

Does anyone have experience with check-in a portable crib at an airline? Is it possible/necessary to take a portable crib along so the baby will have a place to sleep? I don't want to spoil the precious sleep pattern the baby (now nearly 11 months) finally has established (after breastfeeding and family bed), so I thought to take a crib. It is our first ever flight and big trip (2 weeks) with the baby, so it is kind of making me nervous...


Bring a portable crib with and check it as luggage.
We took one with us when we went on extended trips, weren't going to move too much from place to place, and had no other options. Which means that we only took it with us a couple of times. Usually hotels could provide us with an acceptable crib of some kind, or we were able to borrow something from someone, and we would explore this in advance. Good luck!
Yes, you can take a portacrib along: you will need to check-in this one as well. We always took our Graco with no problem. We wrapped ours (and the carseat)in clear plastic for extra protection. Some times , when we had more luggage, we wrapped carseat and portacrib together to make one bag out of two good journey
Checking in a portable crib is pretty easy, especially if yours has either a handle or wheels. We did it just a short time ago, and the airlines treated it as if it were just another piece of luggage, and it came through fine. However, we ended up not using it. Being in another place with different people, routines, and so on was unsettling enough to our then 7-month-old son that he ended up sleeping with us. However, depending on where you will be, if the portable crib can be converted to a playpen, it might be nice to have a safe place to put the baby for a few minutes.
I bought rolling luggage big enough to squeeze my portacrib in by taking it out of the bag and setting all the bars crossways in the suitcase. This makes for a very heavy suitcase, when I fill up the rest of the space with my things, but at least I don't have to carry the crib by hand.

If your baby will sleep in a portacrib it can be very handy. If your baby is mobile and you don't have a crib, one person needs to basically be in the room with the baby any time the baby is sleeping. With a crib, you can leave the baby sleeping in one room and be in another part of the house without worrying that he or she will get hurt upon awaking. If you don't want to have to carry one, can you borrow a crib there from someone whose child has outgrown one, or rent one?

If you take a portacrib from home, it may help to acclimate your baby by putting him or her to bed in it in a different room of the house (so sleeping somewhere other than normal isn't totally new) for a few nights before you go. Enjoy your trip! -Charis


Concerning the portable crib, most airlines are glad to check these through as luggage. You may want to bring a bag to cover it or ask for a large bag at the check in desk. We used ours often while traveling. It was a good place to put familiar smelling clothing, blankets and toys for the baby to sleep near and play near. It was also a good way to put them down in an environment where we didn't want to put them on the floor or ground, and where we wanted to give them a bit of protection from animals or other children. The baby didn't always sleep the whole night in the portable crib, but it certainly was great for the first part of the evening.
Our baby is a great sleeper at home, but traveling can be disruptive, so we do take a portable crib. We have a Pak-n-play, and check it with no problem, but be sure to ask the airline to give you one of those plastic bags to wrap it in: the outside of ours has gotten fairly shredded by baggage handlers. We also have learned to put folded blankets underneath the fairly skimpy mattress of the Pak-n-Play to make it a bit more comfortable, and we take unwashed blankets from home to make the new environment smell a bit more like home.
The crib is no problem to travel with -- it is the easiest piece to clear the search. If you don't want to use a crib at your destination hotel or have the baby sleep with you, the crib is the way to go. Felicia

Portable Crib for out-of-town trips with 6-month-old

Jan. 2000

Can anyone recommend a good portable crib that I can use with my six month old when we go out of town? She sleeps in her own crib at home and I am hesitant to let her sleep and take naps in a regular bed because she moves around so much she might fall out. The last time we traveled with her she was still sleeping with us and didn't move as much in her sleep so it wasn't an issue. What do people do in these situations? Some of the portable cribs I've looked at seem to be playyards first and portable cribs second-meaning they don't look that safe. I also want one that is truly portable because we plan to travel across country in the next couple of months and it would be one less thing to worry about. I've looked at the Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper which looks a little more "crib-like" than the play yard versions. Does anyone have experience with this? I would appreciate any recommendations people could give. Thank you very much.


Ann We have used the Graco Pack n Play for 2 years now with our son, and still think its great. It may be one of the ones you mentioned as being like a play pen, but we have never used it for that. Its sturdy, has a nice flap to cover the mesh on the side away from the wall, if you want to reduce stimulus for your baby, and my son seems to find it quite comfortable. (He also uses it for naps at daycare every day) He is an active 2 yr old and hasn't been able to tip or even wobble it. It is also very portable. It folds up into its own duffel bag, and we have dragged it all over the US on too many trips to count.
Terri
In response to your questions regarding "play pens" I would like to give you my experience. I initially registered for a small version of the crib/playpen. What I discovered when I finally took it to a park for a picnic this summer when my daughter was 5 months old, is that it is really quite tiny and does not avail much room for a sleeping/active baby. While I was there I noticed that a friend of mine had a large playpen. I ended up taking my original playpen back and bought the "Tot Yard" instead. It is very portable and serves the purpose as a sleeper and a playpen. My daughter will be a year old next month and weighs over 20 lbs. The playpens structure is sturdy enough and I have had no worries over safety issues. My thought process in this whole deal was that I would have ultimately had to buy two different play pens as my daughter got older and that wouldn't be cost effective as well as not necessary. I hope this information helps.
Jen
The Graco Pack-and-Play is what we have always used for our now 2+ year old when we travel. We've never used it as a playpen. It is safe, easy to set up/take down and travel with and they are readily available. The pad on the bottom provides adequate support and the more deluxe models come with a fitted sheet (which mine doesn't have, but you could use a crib sheet) As with so many other things, as your child becomes more familiar with it, he/she will probably feel comfortable sleeping in it. Letting your child try it out at home for naps before you travel may help with this, and we bring the blanket, favorite stuffed toy and lullaby music from home to make bedtime away from home as familiar as possible. You can buy a basic Pack-and-Play at Target for about $50.00 (they also carry a higher-end model) or you might find a used one at a consignment place (try Darla's on San Pablo in El Cerrito).
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