Having been around the new-mom block once before, I know that any product that promises to help your baby get better rest might just become your new best friend once the little bundle arrives. So I was more than a little excited when the Bright Starts Playtime to Bedtime Sleeper arrived at our door.
Eager to see my potential BFF in action, I snagged my husband to help with the assembly. (When it comes to following do-it-yourself directions, my patience levels are even more dismal than my handy-man skills). Turns out, this is one project I could have handled on my own. Thanks to a simple and intuitive design and a limited number of parts, the product came together in less than five minutes. The directions even stayed in the box.
Right away, I was in love with the compact design and quiet aesthetics. When the frame is unfolded, it takes up only a couple of feet of our prized living room real estate. And, the colors? You won’t find any bright, kiddy tones here. The muted neutrals mesh perfectly with my living room.
Upon further inspection, I was pleased to find that the sleeper-slash-bouncer sits high enough off the floor to meet evenly with the edge of my couch’s seat cushions. If I’m relaxing with a magazine or a movie, baby will be conveniently within arm’s reach. No bending to the ground to hand baby a toy or stooping low to pick her up. (Maybe this little gem will cut down on my postpartum chiropractic visits!)
Because baby will be fairly far from the floor, I immediately checked for a safety restraint. I found a three-point harness. It’s enough to keep baby snug in her seat, but with a toddler who may be tempted to abscond with baby to various parts of the house, I’d have much preferred a five-point design.
One of my favorite mom-friendly features of the bouncer is the easy-to-care-for seat pad. Because you never know when baby spit-up or blow-outs are going to happen, the pad can be removed and tossed into the washer with ease. (Another bonus of the fabric-only design: No hard plastic or cardboard inserts mean no worries about baby developing flat spots.)
While the sleeper was quickly inching its way up my favorite baby product list, there was one final feature I knew could make or break our friendship. Because our family travels pretty frequently, it was essential to me that the sleeper collapse simply and stand up to its claims of having a compact fold.
In a moment of truth, I pushed down and twisted the locks. Voila! Within seconds, it was as flat as could be. To test the easy of transporting it, I picked it up with one hand while I held my toddler in the other. Weighing in at only 10 pounds, I had no problem carrying it from room to room. It was equally easy to haul up and down our flight of stairs with just one hand.
Much less bulky (read: more trunk space!) and easier to handle than a traditional pack-and-play, I expect the Bright Starts product will be our go-to sleeper and bouncer for day trips to grandma and grandpa’s and even extended overnight stays.
Ironically, though, it is the sleeper’s elementary design that makes it so appealing and yet somewhat lacking. With no rocking or vibrating motions, the sleeper won’t replace a swing at our house. But, it will keep me from having to haul a much more cumbersome swing from room to room as I shower, cook, do laundry, etc. And, for now, that’s enough to keep it in the running for this mama’s “best friend” title.
To buy: diapers.com