Can you use a pack and play as a crib? If you’re on a budget or space conscious, you’re probably asking if you can skip a traditional crib and let your baby sleep in a playard! We’re answering and talking pros and cons today.
I mentioned in my minimalist registry post that for the first 6 weeks of my oldest’s life, we lived in my husband’s old room at my MIL’s house before we moved into the house we bought.
We had zero room and seemingly even less money, so a full blown nursery was a no go.
In a way, this was a blessing! We didn’t get the full crib and changing table thing, anticipating getting it when we moved, so we stuck with a pack and play.
Spoiler: we’ve now used a pack and play as a crib for all 3 kids.
Here’s the thing: a crib is nice from an ideal standpoint, but if you’re going to have a nursery in your room, it might not be reasonable. Instead, we used a pack and play with a changing table feature and it’s always been a game-changer!
Why use a pack and play as a crib?
There’s a bunch of reasons why using a pack and play as a crib makes sense.
Less expensive. It’s all in one, so if you choose right, you’ve got a bassinet, a changing table, and a crib all in one.
Smaller footprint overall. If you’re low on space, you won’t need to also have some kind of changing station and diaper caddy in addition to the pack and play.
Can use it later down the road. Since it’s a pack and play, you can use it for travel! We used ours in hotels, the travel trailer, and in a rented beach house with both boys.
Easier to “move” into your room. A pack and play is the perfect crib when you’re going to have the nursery in your room, since you can easily break it down to move it to their nursery later if you want. With a crib you might need to break it down to fit.
Grows with baby. We’ve always used one with an optional (safe) bassinet for the early weeks/months. Then we moved baby down to the actual pack and play crib area.
Easier to sleep in your room. Since the AAP suggests baby to sleep in your room to reduce the chances of SIDS, it’s easier to use a PnP.
What is the difference between a crib and a pack n play?
A crib is stationary and cannot (easily) be moved. It’s also generally exclusively used for sleep. A Pack and Play is a smaller, travel friendly sleep space that folds up with little to no effort,
Can babies sleep overnight in a pack n play?
Yup! They are considered safe sleep areas for babies, so long as they are flat bottomed and have breathable siding. Play yards made after 2012 are required to CPSC Standards for safety as well.
Does a Pack and Play need a mattress?
Nope! They come with a mat for baby to sleep on. AAP advises baby sleep on a hard surface that does not indent to reduce the risk of SIDS, so skip the nice, soft mattress until they’re older.
How to Choose a Pack and Play as a Crib
- Find one that goes with safe sleep guidelines, period.
- It should have a flat, firm base and mesh siding.
- If you plan to use the bassinet feature, make sure you scour for a “sleep safe” version. It took me a while to find one that was flat and mesh sided!
- Check reviews. Seriously, online reviews are amazing and reading other parents experiences on everything from durability to ease of use is invaluable.
Good Pack and Plays to use as a Crib
If you’re looking for a version with a sleep safe bassinet, this is what we used with Ella:
These also look like good options:
I recommend searching the “questions” area in the Amazon reviews for “sleep safe”. Many people already ask the question and it’s answered by the manufacturer.
I also love this small, mini pack and play!