Are you wondering where to put your active, mobile baby safely, so you can get some work or chores done in the house?
Then you might have thought of getting a playpen.
But then again, is a playpen necessary?
What are its pros and cons?
Is there any other alternative you can use?
This article will answer that and more.
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So Is a Playpen Necessary?
Yes and No.
Yes, a playpen is necessary to provide a safe space for your baby to stay in while you rest or do some tasks where you can’t always carry your baby.
BUT if you have limited space, then no, a playpen is not necessary to have.
They are not a newborn essential so if you find yourself lacking space for a playpen, then there’s no need to buy one.
Benefits of Playpens
Here are some advantages of having playpens:
Provides a safe space
This is the primary reason why most parents would opt for a playpen.
Aside from their crib, a playpen acts as a safe space for your baby, keeping them entertained and out of harm’s way while you get focused and busy on a task.
So you don’t need to worry about your kid crawling and touching dirty stuff on the floor, or playing with wires, coins, and other safety/choking hazards.
Just make sure to leave safe, age-appropriate baby toys in the playpen!
Gives you some hands-free time
How to get things done with a clingy baby is a common question among rattled, exhausted parents.
You can’t always hold them while prepping dinner, doing chores, working, answering the door, exercising, bathroom breaks, etc.
So playpens are quite convenient to have to quickly plop your baby in while you, for eg., check the door and carry in some delivered groceries, and such.
It can also give you a breather from holding and entertaining your baby!
Can be used for various activities
Babies need a safe space to move around and do tummy time and other age-appropriate baby activities.
So other than their crib, a playpen can be useful for your baby to learn how to crawl, sit up, stand, cruise, and such.
Can be used for traveling
Pack ‘n plays are also called playpens and they can be brought on trips, vacations, and even weekend visits to in-laws.
Can be used outdoors
Certain outdoor playpens are durable and won’t easily tip over and collapse.
You can use such for outdoor gatherings with friends and loved ones.
You can put your baby in it with all her baby toys while you socialize with other adults!
For early wake-times
Some parents shared being sleep-deprived because their babies keep waking up at 4:30 in the morning!
Separates them from pets
Playpens are a great idea to separate your furry ones from the fruit of your loins, who might be terrorizing the former!
It can also get worrisome to have huge pets play with your fragile, little one, so it’s better to separate them by using a playpen.
Gives your older kids a break
Your other older kids might not appreciate having the baby crawling and being all over them and their toys.
So the best way to separate your little one from the not-so-littles is by having a playpen.
Check out the most popular playpens that are highly mentioned and recommended by a lot of parents and even baby experts online:
You can check out further details on these best playpens by clicking here.
Drawbacks of Having a Playpen
It can be hard to justify having a playpen if you’re already lacking in space.
Practical-wise, it’s not recommended and you might just be better off baby-proofing a room or an area in the house and/or using a baby gate.
Playpens are another thing to clean and maintain, especially if your baby spits, vomits, or does a diaper blowout on it!
Baby might climb over it
For pack n plays or a regular playpen, there’s always the possibility of your little one climbing over it.
Baby might hate it
Some babies might just loathe being in one.
They might not be comfortable, it feels like it’s a “baby jail”, and they can’t roam around – whatever the reason might be, some babies will just hate being in a playpen.
Which can mean a total waste of money!
Some parents have chosen to just baby-proof a room, an area, or even their entire home, rather than get a playpen.
Which can work, especially if you stay in a small apartment and you can easily check in on your baby.
Just be wary of electrical sockets, wires, kettle, or anything poking out or can easily be reached, that can endanger your baby.
Keep everything hidden and away from your little one’s curious gaze and prying hands.
It goes without saying that there’s a lot of baby-proofing that needs to happen if you choose a baby gate rather than a playpen.
But this is a popular option for parents who want to use what limited space they have, to corral their babies and keep them safe.
Some have created a furniture corral in their living room.
They said it was convenient to have, so they can have coffee in the morning without having to chase their kid all over the house!
Some just gated off a particular room in the house and had it baby-proofed.
Yes, you can use them temporarily to keep your baby safe while you cook, mop, or even go to the bathroom!
Just make sure to give your baby some safe toys to keep them entertained, long enough to want to stay in the baby highchair.
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Some parents find it more convenient to just bring their babies with them anywhere, to do basically anything!
You can baby wear your baby at the back and cook or clean the toilet, you can baby wear your baby to clean, do work, run errands – basically anything.
So if you’re lacking in space and budget for a playpen, then a baby carrier might be the solution you need.
FAQ on Playpens
Are playpens good for babies?
Yes, playpens are good for babies.
Your little one can stay there safely and can be encouraged to crawl, sit up and even stand and cruise around, especially if it’s a large playpen.
What age is a playpen suitable for?
Pack n plays or regular playpens can already be used for newborns.
Some parents opt to wait until their baby is 4 months old, but you can get more bang for your buck if you use it already for your newborn.
How long can you use a playpen?
You can use a playpen as long as your kid isn’t trying to climb out of it.
Can you leave a baby in a playpen?
Yes, you can leave a baby in a playpen for a short time, under the right circumstances.
If you only need to leave them for a few minutes, if there’s no danger of them climbing out of it, or pets can’t climb in, and if you can check them through a baby monitor, then yes, it’s okay to leave them for a while in the playpen.
Related article: Where To Put The Baby Monitor Safely In The Nursery Room
Can babies and toddlers sleep in a playpen?
Yes, babies and toddlers can sleep in a playpen IF the playpen is big, comfortable, and safe enough to sleep on.
Just take note that it’s safer and more appropriate to use it only for naptime. Not for night-time sleep!
Are playpens safe?
Yes, playpens are safe.
Especially those that carry safety federal certifications and are proven to be sturdy and durable have no danger of tipping over or collapsing and have no things poking out or that can hurt your baby.
Is a Playpen Necessary: Final Thoughts
Playpens are not a must-have but just like other baby gear out there such as baby swings, rockers, etc., they are useful and convenient to have.
They can benefit your baby developmentally by giving them a safe space to move around and explore.
And they indirectly benefit you, so you can have some hands-free time!
Just take note to consider first your available space and the layout of your living room, if you’re thinking of getting a playpen.