9 answers

Playpen Instead of Crib & Car Seat Handle Orientation

Hi ladies!
I'm 28 weeks pregnant with my first baby and starting to think about buying stuff for the new baby. Its extremely overwhelming!! I have 2 major questions for now:
1. we are strapped for money and space (we're temporarily in a 1 bedroom apartment) and are considering buying a playpen with the basinet attachment instead of a crib to save space and money. Do you have any experience with using a playpen only? negative or positive?
2. Are the infant car seats with the handle that looks like a "Z" really better? I mean the kind that are supposed to be easier on your arms by putting the handle facing parallel to your body as you hold it to the side of the body.

Hope that makes sense. Thanks for any recommendations!

What can I do next?

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I use a playpen for a bed when I travel with my daughter. We just finished traveling for the holidays and she was fine for more than 3 weeks. The mattress is not as soft, but for a newborn there would be less weight. My daughter is large (23 lbs and more than 30 inches) at 8 months of age. When she was smaller the bass. portio worked great now she just sleeps on the base of the playpen and is fine. She appears to sleep well.


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Hi, when we moved to MN our son was about 5mos old and we only had the play pen with us, we had left the crib in CA with everything else that didn't fit in the car :) but it worked fine, it really didn't seem to bother him at all. He had started out in a cradle (we were also in a 1 bdrm at the time and very strapped on cash) then he moved into a crib in the living room. so when he moved into the playpen it didn't seem to make any difference and he used it for over a month. Now with our second child, she spent quite some time in the bassinet part of the playpen when we moved from st paul to minneapolis, and it didn't seem to make her any difference either (3 mos old). so i guess, really, personally i think that it is a fine alternative to cramped spaces! good luck and congrats on the child!!

Hi and congrats on your little girl coming in March. We used the pack in play downstairs and had a crib in her room. The pack in play was great for diaper changes and we used it many times for that and she occationally slept in it but not often. If your comfortable with the baby sleeping in it then it should fit all your needs. My concern was with the not so firm padding and I thought there would be an increased risk that she'd suffocate to death. I was also worried about her back and thought it was best for her to sleep on a firm mattress. They do have portable cribs which are small and also serves as a changing station. Babies R Us has the Delta Luv portable crib on wheels. As far as the car seat I have the Graco travel system and it has no Z handle so I don't know the benefits. We did fine handling the standard carseat and when the baby gets heavier I would think it's uncomfortable either way. I wish you luck in your decision. I do think the pack in play would fit your living situation but think for the safety of the child I'd go with the standard crib. Either the portable crib or pack in play have height and weight restrictions and the baby will have to stop sleeping in it sooner than a regular crib.

Girl, i know how it is. When i had my first, we were in the same situation. I also wanted to sleep with our daughter though and I was nursing. My favorite thing I found was called the "Co-sleeper" . Its really neat, its like a playpen style base, with a bassinet that covers the whole top and attatches safely to the side of your bed. The bassinet part takes a normal size crib sheet and its that simple. Later, when my daughter got older we used it as a playpen and then moved her straight to a twin bed at a year. She really liked it and it worked well for the whold family and since I was nursing, she was close by and in arms reach at night or nap time... as far as the car seat goes, I used the same one for both of my girls. I had a graco convertable stroller that came with a carseat. I ended up realizing that the combos(stroller and carseat) were the better deals. The carseat had a straight bar. I hated carrying them in that thing, and I'm 22 and strong. Its just akward in general. I ended up putting them both in rear facing "big-girl" carseats as soon as they met the height and weight requirements. Well....good luck! Hope my experiences help you.


My husband and I were in between moving after our son was born last January. We had gotten a travel bassinet (a tall one) which we used until he got too big. We then did get a pack and play since we were moving down here and did not yet have a house. He kinda slept in that until about 3 months ago when we finally got his crib. I don't know if it really makes a difference, but he does sleep a lot better in his crib, but that could be just because he was older. My suggestion is to just go with the crib. Pick up the crib itself maybe this month and then get the mattress right before she was born. I know it's hard when things are tight, having very much experience in that department, but if you invest the couple hundred dollars in the crib it will be something your child will use for years. I believe that my son sleeps better in a crib vs the playpen.

I was also going to say that we bought our son's infant car seat in jan of 05, so it just about a year old. It is still in great shape, but it is blue. I know that I was very hesitant to use a used car seat, but it has not been abused and it is just under a year old, so if that is something you wouldn't mind using, even though it is blue, you are more then welcome to have it. I was going to give it to a girl due in a few days up north, but she got one for her baby shower. If you are hesitant I understand, but wanted to offer before I gave it somewhere else.

Hope this helps.

I would said go with the pack n play, because with a crib you have to buy the mattress too, which is an extra expense. I would say go with the "z" type infant car seat, it really is worth the extra money. I have 2 girls 1 and 3 and just moved the 3 year old into a bed, and have an extra crib and mattress I would be willing to sell for cheap if you are interested. It is white wood. We have 2 cribs and I willing be keeping the older one and selling the newer one. I paid a lot for the first, and the second one was only used for less then a year.

Hi and welcome to Minnesota! I would say get the playpen with bassinet..we used that for both of our kids for the first 3 months or so even though we had a crib. It is pretty much a necessity whether you get a crib down the line or not. There are second hand stores here called ONCE UPON A CHILD. They are in most suburbs. They would have a gently used playpen for pretty cheap (plus lots of other supplies). As far as the car seat goes, we didn't use a 'Z' one but I have carried a friend's who does have one and I don't think they are any easier to carry. A stroller that attaches to the carseat was important for us -no matter what kind of carseat you get, none are good for carrying long distances. Good Luck!


I have a 19 mo old girl and am expecting my second child at the beginning of March. I saw your question and thought I would respond...

My husband and I bought both a pack n play with the bassinet attachment and a used crib for our first child. The pack n play will suffice for awhile and is very convenient when the baby is very young especially with the changing table attachment. However, over time you are going to need a crib. The pack n play gets to be too small for the child and also I think the play pen is pretty uncomfortable from what I can tell. The goal is to make them as comfortable as possible so they will sleep:) I would suggest getting a used crib if you have the room...just make sure that the slats of the crib aren't any wider than a coke can. If it's just a matter of months until you move to a larger apartment then you could hold off on the crib for a few months but you won't be able to hold off for very long.

As for the car seat, I just bought one that was recommended as very safe and easy to use by the Highway Safety Commision. I am not sure of the type of handle we have but the brand is Graco Snug Ride and base. If you have more than one car you can buy two bases and be able to put the car seat in either car very easily. I would highly recommend you install the base before the baby is born and find an inspection station to make sure it is installed properly. The infant car seats are very very difficult to get in properly and you don't want to be fumbling around with this just before you go home from the hospital.

Hope this helps. Goodluck with your new baby! Parenthood is wonderful!

I use a playpen for a bed when I travel with my daughter. We just finished traveling for the holidays and she was fine for more than 3 weeks. The mattress is not as soft, but for a newborn there would be less weight. My daughter is large (23 lbs and more than 30 inches) at 8 months of age. When she was smaller the bass. portio worked great now she just sleeps on the base of the playpen and is fine. She appears to sleep well.


I lived in D.C. when my son was born in March. We moved back to MN in August. For the first 5 months, my son slept in his pack-n-play with the bassinet attachment. I felt very comfortable putting him in it during those months. But, as he became heavier, it seemed he did not sleep as well. So, I purchased a mattress that fit, and that seemed to help. But, but the time he was 5 months old, he seemed to be sleeping worse. When we moved home, we got a crib (with mattress) for him at an estate sale for $33.00! I suggest that you purchase the pack-n-play for your new baby, and spend some time looking for a used crib for when the baby gets bigger. That way you have the pack-n-play for trips to grandma's (we are using ours alot over the holidays), but have a "real" crib for your baby as they get too big for every day sleeping in the playpen.

Good luck!
J. and baby Charlie

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