Pack n Play Mattresses: Simple Answers to Your Questions

pack n play faqs

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​A pack and play is one of those life savers for many parents. But sometimes they are not used 100% because there are some issues you may not know about. In this article we answer the main questions about pack and plays and their mattresses and how to use them as useful tools for your baby’s care.

Do pack and plays come with a mattress?

​No, just the firm pad that comes with the pack and play. It doesn’t matter what brand the pack and play is, it happens on Graco and other brands.I recommend a pack and play mattress if you want your baby to have a bed to sleep on for the long term.  The pad the playpen comes with is safe, but not comfortable at all. In fact, if you press a little bit you can feel the support bars.

Does a pack n play or a playpen ever need a mattress?

Some parents put their baby in a pack ‘n play in their room, to be as safe as possible from SIDS. But the pack ‘n play mattress is basically made of wood underneath and they want a more comfortable mattress for their little one. What we recommend is only to use the hard mattress of the playard because it leaves no gaps in the corners or edges. These gaps can cause entrapment and suffocation.

Yet, if you plan to use one, make sure there are no gaps on the sides. The mattress has to be firm, but it’s better than wood. Roll up a sheet and make sure everything is flat and fit tightly.

Best ​Memory Foam Pack ‘n’ Play Mattresses

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The Best ​Memory Foam Pack ‘n’ Play Mattresses

Is there a mattress for Pack n Play?

There are several specific solutions for pack n plays. Some are mattresses and others are padded sheets.

A recommended mattress is the Dream On Me. It fits beautifully into the playpen. Baby may like it a lot more than the original “mattress” of the pack ‘n play.

The Hiccapop brand also offers great mattresses for pack n play. Its dual-sided mattress is highly rated. ( It was also our top pick in our this year’ selection). It remains firm but much more comfortable and fits the playard perfectly. It is placed on top of the playpen mattress and then both are wrapped in crib sheets.

Finally, you can get Little One’s quilted sheet. This offers a little more cushioning but keeps the firmness of the mattress. First you put this padded sheet on the pack n’ play, then a regular crib sheet, so if she spits or has an accident, all you have to do is change the crib sheet.

Little One's Pad Pack and Play Crib Mattress Cover
Little One’s Pad Pack and Play Crib Mattress Cover
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Will a Crib Mattress Fit in a Pack and Play?

As I told you in the answer above, there are specific mattresses for a pack and play. Crib mattresses don’t have the standard size of a pack and play and so cannot be fitted into it. They are bigger and in general, when using a baby bed, the rule of thumb is that the mattress should fit perfectly, it is the safest thing for your baby. That said, don’t worry because it’s easy to get very good mattresses on the market with the exact dimensions of the pack and play, especially for the Graco brand.

​How do you clean a Pack ‘n Play mattress?

Here we offer three different ways to keep your playpen mattress completely clean.

  1. The first is to clean it with a baby wipe, it could remove stains. However, if you want to do a deep cleaning, you can soak it in a tub full of hot water with laundry soap, vinegar, and baking soda.
  2. Maybe you couldn’t get the smell of vinegar out and it drives you crazy. In this case, we recommend Oxi clean baby stain stainover spray or powder with no perfume. Simply fill your bathtub and soak the mattress if necessary. This option removes 99% of stains.
  3. The last option is quite simple. Just buy crib sheets for the baby playpen mattress and wash them whenever you need to.

If you want to do a deep cleaning at home of your pack and play, I recommend this video:

What age can you put a baby in a playpen?

The ideal age to use a playpen is six to eight months. At this age, most babies can sit, reach, and grab nearby toys. They are generally accepting, so you can leave them in the playpen (always staying close, of course) for a short period of time without the infant making too much fuss.

Babies this age also love new toys, so be sure to put something in the playpen with them. Don’t try to tie toys to the sides or top of a playpen, such as ropes or chains that can present a suffocation hazard to babies.

When your child is eight to ten months old, he or she will probably be crawling and even standing up. For this reason, he may be tired of being in the playpen. He’ll want to explore a larger area and might even stand in the playpen and cry if you don’t take him out. Keep her happy in the playpen by providing new toys she hadn’t seen before.

You may well start to stop using the pack n play once your baby can walk. He will likely protest loudly once he can walk if you try to confine him to a small space.

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