Yes. A newborn can safely sleep in a pack and play. The bassinet attachment is a convenient feature, however is not required for safety. Make sure to avoid placing objects like loose bedding, pillows, or stuffed toys in the pack ‘n play to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Every parent with a newborn wants to ensure that they create the safest environment for their baby, including where their newborn sleeps.
Whether you are on the go or you want a safe place for your baby to sleep long term, there are various reasons why a Pack ‘n Play might be a convenient option for your newborn.
The most important question to ask is, is it safe? A Pack ‘n Play will make a perfectly safe sleeping space for your newborn with proper guidance.
Can a Newborn Sleep in a Pack and Play without a Bassinet?
There is no reason why your newborn cannot sleep in a Pack ‘n Play without the bassinet. The bassinet feature of a Pack ‘n Play is convenient; however, it is not essential for the safety of your newborn baby.
Bassinets Keep Baby at Eye-level
Bassinets are generally placed beside the bed while you sleep and keep you at eye level with your baby.
They also allow you to easily reach your newborn to pick them up, adjust them, or comfort them. Some even have features such as rocking or vibration, which help soothe your baby to sleep.
Reduced Risk of SIDS From Not Sharing the Bed
Bassinets reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) in your baby because your baby will not be sharing a bed with you.
Because of this, there is no increased risk of SIDS by placing your newborn in the bottom of the Pack ‘n Play because it will function the same way as a bassinet, aside from simply being lower to the ground and not having some of the helpful features such as vibration.
As long as you follow all safety guidelines, your baby will be perfectly safe sleeping in a Pack ‘n Play without the bassinet attachment.
What Are the Benefits of a Pack and Play?
Before getting into how to keep your infant safe in a Pack ‘n Play, let’s discuss the benefits of a Pack ‘n Play and why a play yard might be the best fit for your family.
1. Pack and Plays Are Portable
The most significant benefit to the Pack ‘n Play is that it is portable, which is not possible with a standard crib or bassinet.
Sleep and naps are vital in your baby’s early stages of life, and a Pack ‘n Play provides your child with a sleeping area in any household without needing to have a crib or bassinet.
This function makes it a perfect option for parents, whether you travel often or if your baby is staying with grandma for the weekend.
2. It Grows with Your Baby
Another plus to the Pack ‘n Play is that it grows with your baby. Pack ‘n Plays such as the Graco Pack ‘n Play come with a bassinet attachment, allowing you to reach your baby quickly.
This attachment will later be removed as your newborn grows, which provides the perfect space for your baby to sleep and play.
3. It’s Not Just for Sleep
Pack ‘n Plays follow standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, ensuring they are sturdy and have breathable mesh sides.
They ensure its’ a safe space to place your newborn, whether they are sleeping or if you need a safe area to set them down!
Safety Concerns of a Pack and Play
Make Sure Your Pack and Play Isn’t Damaged
The first thing a parent should do to ensure the safety of your Pack ‘n Play is to make sure the device meets all safety standards.
Check that your Pack ‘n Play is not broken or damaged and has not been recalled. Aside from this, the primary safety concern with a Pack ‘n Play is not the device itself; but rather what someone places in it.
Avoid Placing Objects Inside the Pack and Play During Sleep
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, objects like bumper pads, loose bedding, pillows, or stuffed toys can increase the risk of suffocation.
It is important to keep these objects out of your Pack ‘n Play in their early life stages and cover the crib mattress with a fitted sheet for safety.
Be Mindful of Weight Limits and Manufacture Guidelines
It is also important to remember that infants grow quickly! If you are using a bassinet with your Pack ‘n Play, be sure to monitor your baby’s growth.
Remember, it is not safe to continue to use the bassinet once your baby reaches 15 pounds or once they can roll over.
After this point, you must remove the bassinet attachment and allow your baby to sleep or play in the play yard itself. Pack ‘n Plays have a weight limit of around 30 pounds.
Once your baby reaches this weight, it will be time to find another sleep option and move on from the Pack ‘n Play. As long as these safety standards are met, it is safe for your newborn to sleep in this device!
Tips to Keep Your Newborn Safe in a Pack and Play
Aside from keeping your Pack ‘n Play free of stuffed toys, loose bedding, bumper pads, and pillows, there are other measures you will need to take to keep your newborn safe in the Pack ‘n Play. These tips will provide your infant with a safe sleep space.
1. Use a Firm Mattress
To ensure your newborn’s safety while sleeping in a Pack ‘n Play, make sure you use a firm mattress.
Soft bedding may be comfortable for adults, but this can increase the risk of SIDS in newborns, so it is important to stick with safety guidelines.
2. Assemble According to Instructions
Remember that when in doubt, read the instructions. The Consumer Product Safety Commission states that you must assemble your cribs or play yards properly to ensure your infant’s safety.
Do not attempt to assemble your Pack ‘n Play without instruction.
3. Swaddle Your Baby
Swaddling or wrapping your newborn while they sleep will help improve their sleep.
Newborns are prone to accidentally scratching themselves since they are not used to their new bodies.
Swaddling will also prevent your newborn from jerking awake and will give them a sense of security while they sleep.
4. Place Your Pack and Play in a Safe Location
Do not place your Pack ‘n Play near blinds or curtains that your baby could tug and become tangled in, and ensure that any mobiles or dangling toys that your baby can reach are attached securely. Any loose items around the Pack ‘n Play pose a strangulation hazard.
How to Help Your Newborn Fall Asleep in a Pack and Play
There are various reasons your newborn may not be falling asleep in a Pack ‘n Play.
Sleeping troubles can be frustrating if you are relying on the Pack ‘n Play during travel. Most of the time, other factors prevent your newborn from sleeping rather than the Pack ‘n Play itself.
1. Use a Darkening Tent
To help your baby fall asleep, try using a darkening tent over your Pack ‘n Play. This will help your infant feel secure if they are not used to sleeping in the Pack ‘n Play or if the new environment your play yard is in is too bright.
2. Provide Newborn with a Pacifier
Most parents know that a pacifier will help soothe a newborn baby. A pacifier is perfectly safe to put into the bassinet or play yard with your baby, unlike stuffed toys.
Some studies show that a pacifier may even reduce the risk of SIDS in newborns. The comfort of a pacifier will help your baby fall asleep!
3. Dress Your Baby Appropriately
Temperature control is essential for the comfort of your baby. Just like adults, babies have trouble falling asleep if they are too hot.
Your newborn should not be overheating from multiple layers of clothing, which can keep them from falling asleep.
Trial and Error Helps Your Learn What Your Baby Likes Best
If all else fails, there is nothing wrong with rocking, singing, or cuddling your newborn in your arms until they fall asleep, then gently placing them in the Pack ‘n Play.
Each infant is different, and it is helpful to try new things until you find what’s right for you and your baby.
As long as you provide a comfortable environment for your newborn, they should have no problem falling asleep in their Pack ‘n Play!