When I was putting together my baby registry, I had to choose products that I’d never used before. I’d barely even seen half of these things in person. As I mentioned in my first timer’s baby registry post, I go by looks, price, and reviews when choosing an item that’s new to me.
Sometimes you think you make a wise choice. And sometimes, after some experience, you realize you could have made a wiser choice.
Such is the case with our pack ‘n play. I chose a nice one at a decent price. It works just fine. It does what it’s suppose to do. But after using a different brand (that was a good deal cheaper), I find I should have asked around a bit more before making a decision.
Pack N Play/Playard
What we have: We were gifted an Evenflo BabySuite 300 Playard, by my own choosing. I had never used one before so I went with my standard criteria.
- Looks: I liked the non-“girly” color scheme.
- Price: it was around $100 at the time (not too expensive but not the cheapest).
- Reviews: 3.5+ stars. That seemed to be a given when looking at these things.
- The infant basket and side basket were not useful for me. I never used the infant basket, and the side basket just turned into something my daughter could remove and throw (in addition to the hanging stars).
- The mat that wraps around the closed playard (which also is the support at the very bottom of the playard) is flimsy and not sturdy. It provides very little support and padding. I would not let my daughter sleep directly on this.
- I had no idea that buying an additional mattress was part of how this all worked when it was to be used for overnights. I assumed it was a one-and-done situation.
When we were traveling to my parent’s home for the first time, I spoke with my mom regarding a playard for them to purchase to have at their home. I had spoken with some friends about getting a mattress so I knew this was a necessity by this point. Since I wasn’t in love with our pack ‘n play, and didn’t want them spending a lot of money on something to be used very infrequently, I found the Graco Pack ‘n Playard On The Go.
- Price: This was $80 at the time (now on sale!).
- Looks: It didn’t have the unnecessary infant basket or side pockets.
- Reviews: 4.5+ stars. Bam.
We have since used this Graco pack ‘n play at both grandparent’s homes and I found it to be a better product overall than the Evenflo. The mat that fits at the bottom is much sturdier and provides more padding. I would feel comfortable with her sleeping on this directly if necessary.
We recently had some friends in town and I coordinated a pack ‘n play purchase for them for use with their daughter. (I’d have gladly let them use ours, but we use it daily.) I suggested this Graco model, and had it shipped to my home so they could pick it up when they arrived. I opened it up and made sure it worked, and I’ll be darned if this isn’t the third model of this particular pack ‘n play that is double or triple the sturdiness of the Evenflo. Lucky for us, our friends gifted it to us when they left, so now we have two. I look forward to using this model instead of our current one.
Clearly, my final recommendation is the Graco Pack ‘n Playard On The Go. More expensive doesn’t always mean better quality. I learned that the hard way.