You’ve taken your little bundle of joy home from the hospital. Baby and mother are doing fine, and life is coming up roses. Now, what do you do? Babies don’t come with instruction manuals and the on the job training starts the moment you walk in the door and find spit up running down the front of their blanket or they’re crying because they’ve got a cough that won’t stop.
Welcome to the School of Hard Knocks
We can’t help you with everything – there are whole libraries full of books for the kind of detail you think you might need. They cover everything from labor to high school graduation and all the days in between. But we can help you with that cough the baby is having, and if they don’t have one now, rest assured, sooner or later they will. It turns out that some of those old wives’ tales about honey helping a cough are true. Well, hit me with a feather and call me fluffy.
The Sleeping Arrangements
You did give some thought to the babies’ sleeping arrangements during the day, didn’t you? How are you going to keep the little tyke penned up while you cook dinner, take out the trash, or balance the checkbook? The answer, my friend, is in the question; a pen. As in, playpen. Also known as a pack & play.
A pack & play is a square baby pen that opens and closes easily, folding into an easily transportable size. It has mesh sides, usually soft nylon of some kind, and bright colors. Often there are mobiles that can be added or even vibration modes that lull your infant to sleep just like they were in the car listening to hum of the tires.
Modern pack & plays have to meet 2012 safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) so you can set your mind at ease on that score if you’re buying one that is new. If you haven’t bought one yet, we’ve got some helpful tips for you.
Things to Consider
When it is time to buy a pack & play you need to think about the price from two different angles.
If you plan on only having one child, be aware that they’ll outgrow their pack & play faster than you’d think. By the time they hit 18 months old, they’ll be trying to climb out of it, and succeeding often enough to give you a heart attack. Two years is probably the absolute maximum amount of use you’ll get out of it. The point is, don’t spend a fortune on something you’re only going to use for a year or two.
More Than One
If you plan on giving birth to a new nation, you’re going to need a pack & play that will withstand the test of time and multiple sets of little hands ripping and tearing at it, so say nothing of all the teething drool they’ll get on it too.
Portability is Important
How much does the thing fold down? How much does it weigh? The more baby things you have to carry back and forth, the more important these questions will become. The rules of a happy family say you shouldn’t put too much on any one person, in this case, too much toting and carrying.
Before buying a play & pack, insist on a demonstration of how small it folds down. Pick it up a few times and walk up and down the aisle of the store with it in one hand. Don’t use two hands because in the store is the only place you’ll be able to use both. At home, you’ll have something or many somethings in the other hand. Make sure you can tote the pack & play in just one hand. Then make sure you take turns so no one gets stuck with it all the time.
Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness
No, it’s not. Holiness is next Godliness, but cleanliness is right next door to it. Babies, on the other hand, are the epitome of messy. They spit up, drool, soil their diapers, throw their food around, and spill their drinks. Keeping them and their pack & play clean is a full-time job. It will be easier if you get one is easy to clean, especially a mattress pad that can be machine washed and dried.
Getting the right pack & play can make your life a whole lot easier.