Wondering how to make pack n play more comfortable for your little one?
There are a few ways to make it more pleasant to sleep on for your baby but first, let’s discuss what usually is wrong with a pack n play.
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List of Contents
The Problem with a Pack and Play
The usual complaint from parents about a pack n play is its mattress.
Which is not the cushiest, most comfortable mattress there is.
Most of the time though, the mattress is thin and firm, which parents feel is uncomfortable for their baby.
Why is a Pack and Play Mattress So Hard?
It’s no secret that when it comes to babies, their sleep requirements are quite different from ours as adults.
While we might dream of sinking into a plush, cloud-like mattress at night, for our little ones, safety takes precedence over luxury.
That’s why a pack and play mattress often feels so hard.
These portable cribs are meticulously designed with safety as the top priority, and comfort becomes a secondary consideration.
If you think about it, all sleeping surfaces for babies, even a crib or a bassinet, are all thin and firm for a reason – for the safety of your newborn.
A soft, thick mattress can be SIDS-hazard.
Your newborn, who can’t move their heads yet independently, can sink into the thick, soft mattress, which can lead to suffocation.
A soft, thick mattress can also create sags, dents and dips, and possible gaps that can be an entrapment hazard for your baby.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a firm and tight-fitting mattress for babies’ sleep environments, and this holds even truer for pack and plays compared to regular cribs.
The intentionally firmer mattresses in pack and plays are designed to prevent the fabric sides from stretching out and creating dangerous gaps between the mattress and the frame.
Adding extra padding or layers to the mattress might seem like a cozy idea, but it can compromise the safety of the sleep space, potentially leading to suffocation risks or babies getting caught in the gaps.
So, while it might not look as cozy to our adult eyes, the safest way for your little one to sleep in a pack and play is on a firm and snug mattress with a tight-fitted sheet, without any additional softening measures.
If you’re concerned about comfort, there are pack and plays available on the market that come with relatively comfortable mattresses right from the manufacturer, such as the Guava Family Lotus Everywhere Crib, or the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light.
These options provide a balance between safety and comfort, ensuring your baby has a peaceful and secure sleep.
There are ways though to make a pack n play mattress more comfortable, without making it too soft or too thick for your baby to sleep on, which we will discuss next.
How to Make Pack N Play More Comfortable
Use Padded Quilted Mattress Sheets (But Not For Younger Babies)
Thicker, padded, quilted sheets can make the pack n play more comfortable for your baby, making it a little bit cushier.
Get those quilted, thicker sheets made for pack n plays.
It’s better to buy those as you don’t want a mattress sheet that doesn’t fit well.
A small one can come undone, making it a suffocation hazard.
A large one can be pulled by your child or worse, and it can also become a sleeping hazard.
Just take note to place the mattress sheet securely and properly, so it won’t come undone or slip away, making it a suffocation risk for your baby.
It should be tight-fitting and to take note, I wouldn’t recommend this to newborns or younger babies because of safety sleeping guidelines for babies.
You can however, use a padded quilted mattress sheets for older babies – the little ones that can turn their neck independently.
Use Waterproof Sheets
You can add a bit more padding and make the pack n play just a tiny bit cushier by using waterproof sheets.
Get one that makes less or zero, crinkly sound so it doesn’t annoy your baby.
And make sure to get one that fits perfectly your pack n play.
Hacks from Other Parents to Make the Pack ‘N Play Comfier
I don’t highly recommend some of the methods here as they can be risky but if you’re curious about other parent’s methods in making their baby’s pack n play comfier, then read on:
Changing the Pack n Play Mattress
Some parents have tried changing the pack n play’s mattress with success.
They were able to find a firm yet comfortable mattress that fits snugly in the pack n play.
One mom mentioned buying a 3-inch mattress and said there were no gaps between the mattress and the frame, not even the corners, so they felt fine and safe using it for their baby.
So if ever you’d want to swap your pack n play mattress with a new one, make sure that it’s a snug fit and that there are no gaps anywhere that can entrap your baby.
Using A Mattress Topper
Some parents have used a mattress topper for a pack n play.
Some mattress toppers though are not ideal to use for a baby as they can sink in it and suffocate if they lie on their side or if they can, roll on their tummy.
If ever you’d want to try a mattress topper, find something that’s specialized for newborns.
Ask the manufacturer what safety certificates they have and test out the topper yourself.
Place your hand on it then if you see that it’s making a dent and if the surface doesn’t bounce back quickly, then it’s not firm enough for your newborn.
Using A Thick Blanket
One parent mentioned using a thick blanket on the mattress.
So she apparently, made sure that it’s big enough and it’s laying perfectly flat on the mattress.
She tucked and secured it at the back with some masking tape to prevent it from coming undone.
Then she put in the waterproof sheet, and then the mattress sheet!
Just take note that experts say the thickness of the mattress pad, (which for this, consists of the blanket + mattress protector + mattress sheet) should not exceed 1 inch.
Otherwise, your newborn can get tangled up in the extra padding and they might suffocate in it.
Ways To Make Your Child Sleep Better in A Pack N Play
Most of the time, it’s not the pack-n-play that’s the issue.
There could be other factors that are preventing your baby from getting a good night’s sleep.
So check out other ways here to help your little sleep better.
- Keep their room dark
Then just use a night light for diaper changes and feedings at night.
- Use white noise
Play some white noise or lullabies, if that calms your baby.
I remember playing lullabies non-stop for a couple of months.
Then I switched to a “train” white noise as that was the only sound that was tolerable for my baby, that could drown out the other sounds that our neighbors were making.
- Adjust room temperature
Maybe it’s too cold for your baby. Or too hot. Try adjusting the temperature and see which would suit your baby best.
- Swaddle them
Maybe your baby keeps waking up because of his/ her startle reflex.
Help them get better sleep by using a swaddle on them, to restrict their movements.
FAQ on Using Pack ‘N Play
How do you make a Pack N Play comfy?
You can make a pack-n-play comfy and still safe, by using a quilted thicker sheet on it, along with a thick mattress protector.
Can I add a mattress to pack and play?
No, adding a mattress to a pack and play is risky and can be a suffocation hazard, especially to your newborn.
If there’s a gap between the mattress and the frame or even the corners, your baby can get trapped in it and suffocate!
Adding another mattress might also make the surface uneven, which again, can be risky for your baby.
Final Thoughts on How to Make Pack N Play More Comfortable
A baby’s comfort level is way different from an adult’s.
They can sleep anywhere, even on a seemingly uncomfortable, thin pack n play mattress!
So there just might be other factors that are affecting your baby’s sleep or comfort whenever they’re in the pack-n-play.
Try out other ways first to make your baby sleep better and longer.
Then if nothing works, see if doing something to the pack-n-play mattress will make things better for your little one.