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My "Pack n Play" is easy to move around the house and it contains things I need such as changing pad or diapers.

Is there any disadvantage for letting my newborn sleep in this for a long period of time instead of his crib? I am a first time mom so I want to make sure I don't overlook anything.

graco pack n play

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Your "Pack n Play" exists as many brands and product names, so I took the liberty of replacing it with a more generic term. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Feb 24 '12 at 14:33

6 Answers 6

If you're not adding bedding to the playpen (no mattresses, pillows, quilts, etc.) and keep it clean (empty) when your child is using it, it should be fine.

Here is a report on precautions to use while using a Play pen.

I personally don't think that a playpen is as comfortable sleeping on a real mattress, and since you cannot add anything to a playpen (safety issue), it just calls for a rather uncomfortable sleep.

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We have a very similar thing; the brand is different but it probably came from the same Chinese factory. We use it as a travel crib and travel bed for our toddler (from infant to 2,5 years). We did not use it while he was newborn.

As Swati also mentions, there should not be any toys, pillows or blankets because these are a suffocation hazard. And if you use a linen around the mattress then make sure it is snug so he can't entangle himself in it; that's another hazard.

Generally, newborns don't need a lot of toys in their crib/pen/bed. Toddlers might want toys and that's okay because they are old enough to be able move themselves or the toy/pillow if it threatens to suffocate.

Another important aspects -- especially for sleeping! -- is that there is a reasonably solid surface underneath the mattress so that it doesn't sag. The mattress itself should also not be too soft; best would be as hard as the crib mattress.

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I don't think there is a safety concern, as long as the child is sleeping on the flat portion, and has a comfortable pad or mattress on the sleeping surface. Take the same precautions for suffocation and the comfort of the child as you do in a crib. If the child is consistently waking up cranky, it is likely that the sleep is not comfortable.

The big disadvantage I can think of is that you aren't training your child to sleep in the crib. This could be troublesome later, when you will want the child to nap in the crib (in the nursery) rather than in whatever room you are using at the time.

The other disadvantage is that cribs usually have nicely adjusting bottoms, so that you don't have to bend all the way down to lay the child down and pick it up. My wife and I both really appreciated that!

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Yours looks like the one we used for my kids (same brand and everything).

My son slept in ours at night for his first four months (in our bedroom).

My daughter slept in it for about the first month then we moved her to her crib. Second baby and all that.

Having said that, I don't feel like the sleep quality is quite as good in a pack-n-play as it is in a crib. Other than the fact that my kids seemed to sleep better in their crib than in the pack-n-play, I have no other evidence to support this claim. Cribs are just firmer and have more support maybe? Our pack-n-play "mattress" (you know, that padded piece that can attach to the net or the floor?) always seemed to sort of sag in the middle. Maybe yours doesn't do this.

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Both of our children slept in a portable pen for at least their first year, and there were no problems. One thing nobody else has mentioned, but was a big selling point for us, is the benefit of the child being able to sleep in their own bed when you travel, stay in a hotel, visit family, etc. Having that familiar environment can make a huge difference!

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Our first-born slept in a portable crib up until 5 months old (always wrapped in a blanket, not tucked in) and in travel-coat up until 2.5 yo when we finally settled somewhere and got him a "real" bed.

We Didn't have any issues. As long as you are careful to keep them clear of toys, position them safely, and all other SIDS prevention-related practices are followed, there's no reason for it to not be "okay". Apart from your conscience, maybe, if you feel like it's akin to putting your child in a disposable cage. I was fine with that :)

Update

Our second one slept in similar beds as well: portable crib until about 5 months old, and the same folding beyond 1yo.

Same recommendations: usual SIDS-prevention practices to follow to make the crib/bed a safe environment, and it's totally alright.

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