When it comes to your child, you want the very best. Whether it’s toys, games, or clothes, you want to make sure that your baby is comfortable, safe, and above all, happy. When it comes to parenting, there are a million ways to raise your child, but at the end of the day, as long as your baby is smiling and feeling good, then nothing compares.
When I had my first child, my wife and I were so nervous about everything. I suppose that happens with most new parents, but it almost seemed like we were too worried. One thing that we constantly fretted about was how our daughter slept at night. Obviously, as new parents, we weren’t able to sleep that much regardless (I took naps at work, and we traded “shifts” watching her so we could sleep), but we wanted to make sure that she got as much rest as possible.
Our apartment is pretty small, so we weren’t able to get a crib, but we found a Pack N Play, which seemed to be a great option. It’s small, compact, and safe. However, our daughter didn’t really like it. At first, we would swaddle her and sleep with her next to us on our bed, but over time, we decided that she had to transition to her own space. Both for her independence and so we would have enough room to sleep too. We tried to get her to sleep in the Pack N Play, but the pad that came with the unit was fairly thin and not too comfortable.
After doing some research, I found out that many other parents were having the same issue of comfortability with the Pack N Play system. I know that it’s not necessarily designed to be a crib replacement, but since we only have so much space in our home, we don’t really have a lot of options. That’s why I went to work and made some adjustments to make the Pack N Play comfortable enough for our daughter to sleep in.
Whenever our daughter slept alongside us, she would usually wake up every so often and reach for us. Fortunately, we were able to get her to sleep with a stuffed animal that she loves, and it has seemed to work as a proxy for our bodies. I knew that the animal would be necessary to get her to sleep on her own, so I made sure to accommodate both her and the toy. While this seems like a straightforward thing, this toy is quite large, so it wasn’t so easy.
I started by buying foam pads from a local supply store and testing them for comfort and rigidity. Once I found one that seemed right, I bought several of them so I could cut them up and tuck them into the Pack N Play. What I did was essentially make a separate foam mattress that we set on top of the original mat. Since the foam wasn’t thick enough itself, I cut the sections to match the size of the Pack N Play, and then I taped the corners together to keep them secure. To get the right size, I used three pads, but you can use as much as you want.
After I made the “mattress”, I covered everything in a king size pillow case, which acted as a makeshift sheet. Since the corners were pinched down from the tape, it allowed me to pull the mattress out much easier than if I hadn’t, since it fit very snugly inside the Pack N Play. Once the mattress was in place, I tossed a small pillow on top for her head, and then put a fitted sheet over everything, so it’s all nice and secure.
The first time I put our daughter in, she took a few minutes to adjust to the extra softness, but overall she seemed to like it. When we put her in at night, she’s a little cramped with the stuffed animal, but it works out. I wound up having to put in two pillows so she could roll around and still stay comfortable.
If you want to make your Pack N Play more comfortable, you can use my mattress idea, or you can experiment on your own. Here are some basic suggestions for quick and easy solutions to the Pack N Play problem.
● Pillow: if you want something super simple, you can try getting a large pillow and fitting it into the unit. This will act the same way as my makeshift mattress.
● Memory Foam: sometimes you can find pieces of memory foam material that you can resize to fit your Pack N Play. As long as you cover the foam with a fitted sheet or pillowcase, you’re golden.
● When the baby will be in 4 to 5 years it can play more advanced games with parents and elder brother or sister.
We have discussed How to Make Pack and Play More Comfortable. Whatever you do, just make sure that it is safe and doesn’t present a suffocation problem. Since you’ll presumably have your child sleep in the Pack N Play, you don’t want to run the risk of causing an accident. That’s why I put the fitted sheet over the pillows, but you can try different things to see what works.