Our original plan was to put the baby to sleep at night in a bassinet that someone had given us, however we noticed that the baby laid really flat in the bassinet. She seemed uncomfortable, and she tended to roll to one side. Also, we were worried that she might choke if she spit up in her sleep while laying flat on her back in that bassinet. So, we opted to set up the Pack N Play in our room instead, and to use the "napper" attachment as a bed. If I had known how very useful this thing was going to be, I probably would have stopped my wife from converting our guest room and office into a baby room that doesn't even really get used. From now on, my advice to new parents will be that a Pack N Play is the only baby furniture you need for the first few months of the baby's life, so don't worry about a crib, dresser, changing table, or bassinet. All of those are included in the Pack N Play.
There are a few minor imperfections in this thing, and that is the reason I give it four stars instead of five. I will highlight the good and bad below.
"Napper" attachment - This has actually served as a bed for our newborn baby. It is very soft and she sleeps well in it. We also like that it keeps her at a slightly inclined position so that she breathes better and won't choke if she should spit up in her sleep.
Electronics - The music has served as a lullaby not only for the baby, but also for me and my wife. We put the music on every night, even if the baby is already asleep. Also, the vibrating base has really helped when the baby has gas. There is a built-in timer, so it will save the battery life too. I just did the first battery change after six weeks of daily use.
Shelves - We actually haven't used them yet because we haven't taken it on a trip yet, but that is going to be very convenient when we take it on a trip.
Changing table - It is nice to have an attached changing table with nice steep sides. My wife's mother came and stayed with us to help out for the first couple weeks of the baby's life, and we had to put her up in the nursery on an air mattress, so we didn't have access to the changing table in the nursery for those late-night diaper changes. This was a suitable alternative, and was much better than just using a changing pad on the bed or floor. The steep sides keep the baby securely enclosed, so if you need to step away for a second to grab a diaper or something you don't have to worry about the baby rolling off. There is one problem with it that I will mention later.
Assembly: OK, so the basic bottom unit assembles fairly easily. You just pop it into place and put the pad in. If you ignore the unnecessary step that calls for turning it on it's side and digging out the velcro loops to attach, you can have that basic assembly finished in a minute or two very easily. The difficulty comes when putting on the other accessories. The directions call for putting the release buttons face down on the napper, but if you do that it is incredibly difficult to take the napper back out again. My advice would be to install the napper with the release buttons face-up. They are very stiff buttons and there is no way that an infant could release them, so there is not a safety concern, but you need to see them to really release them properly so if you follow the directions and put them face-down there is a sanity concern. If you disregard the velcro straps and install the napper with the buttons face-up, assembly is not so bad. It took me about an hour to assemble the first time, but much of that was the napper and velcro. Can you imagine getting off a long flight or car trip and spending another hour to put together a pack n play before finally relaxing? Forget it.
Portability - Again, this is not a problem with the basic bottom unit. The outside rails fold up and the four-piece pad wraps around them to make a nice portable unit that you can pack up and throw in the car. However, there is no storage for the poles, the shelf unit, the napper, or the changing table, so you must carry all of those items separately. We have not been on a trip yet, but I imagine I will have to carry a separate duffle bag to hold the parts that don't pack up with this unit.
Changing table - As I mentioned earlier, this is a great feature to have, and we do get use out of it when there is a guest staying in the nursery and we can't get to the regular changing table. The only problem with it is that it doesn't sit flat. I have tried adjusting it, but no matter what I do it tends to lean towards the outer rail. Maybe this is meant to compensate for the baby's weight and will correct itself when my daughter weighs more. Right now, it causes her to roll when I am changing her unless I prop her in the corner. When you have a kid like my daughter, who prefers to take a second pee as soon as her diaper is loose, any rolling around translates to a big mess, and that was a lesson I had to learn the hard way on this changing station. I am still glad it is there, I just wish it was more flat.
Toy bar - I guess it was nice that they included the toy bar with the velcro flowers, but my daughter doesn't seem to pay much attention to it and it doesn't attach very securely to the napper. It would have been better if the put loops on there so you could attach some of the other universal toys, and it would have been better if it secured to the napper more firmly because this one pops off all the time.
Overall, I am very pleased with the Pack N Play, and I would suggest that every parent invest in one. I will come back and update my review if I notice anything else worth mentioning.
When we found out we were having another baby, we decided that the new baby would room with us for the first 6 months or so. We searched and found this pack 'n play and decided to try it out. We love it! All the storage compartments come in handy for extra blankets and diapers, and the napper was a great feature for the first 12 weeks.
The changing station is super stable and I have no problem changing our baby there. Also, the padded bassinet feature is wonderful. We were really looking for something super soft and comfortable for our little girl as this was going to be the place where she sleeps for the first months of her life, and we could not be happier. The size of the pack 'n play is great, we have it sitting right beside our bed so if she startles during the night, it is super convenient to lean over and soothe her a little till she falls back asleep.
All the fabrics are great graco quality and the structure itself is very sturdy. I would highly recommend this to anyone considering a pack 'n play for their little one.