This playard displays evolution at its finest. The Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Nearby Napper certainly isn’t just a playard or just a travel bed, it meets many more parenting needs than that.
The added features on this playard include a Nearby Napper, which is a cleverly designed bassinet and inclined infant seat in one. This can be used on the playard, or it can be taken off and used on the floor where it can be either a rocker or stationary seat. There is also a changing table with parent organizer, a full size bassinet for infants, a mobile and a portable light and sound machine.
The playard itself was easy to put together. This part comes almost fully assembled. The Nearby Napper on the other hand took some effort. I followed the instructions thoroughly, but it was just more difficult to do. The whole thing took me about two hours to assemble, and I eventually had to resort to asking my husband to help me with the Napper. So take it from me, assemble it before your baby arrives!
The pack n’ play is very sturdy and looks great. The changing table felt very solid and safe. We previously had a different one that I was wary of putting my baby in because it felt so flimsy. The padding on the mattress is really good, much better than others I have used in the past. The mattress wraps around the folded bed to create a convenient carrying case. There is also a pocket on the underside of the mattress to store the instructions in, which I thought was a good idea.
I have a newborn, and we are currently using the playard as a changing station on our main level—which saves us from having to go upstairs to the nursery to change her all the time. The changing table feels very secure, and the added cubbies are handy for storing extra diapers and wipes. We use the Nearby Napper on the bassinet side in our bedroom at night, and my daughter has slept very well in it. I like that it is so low that I can see her while I am in bed—and reach her to soothe her if I need to.
We also use the Nearby Napper flipped to the seat side during the day. The seat on the Nearby Napper has a slight incline, which is great for newborns with little head control. It makes me feel more comfortable putting her in this as compared to her bouncy seat (because her head tends to slump a bit in the bouncy seat). There is also a built in vibration feature, but we don’t use it at night in our room because it can be noisy even on the lowest setting.
Our daughter is only 2 weeks old, so she isn’t playing with anything yet. However, when that time comes I’m sure the additional features of the mobile for the Nearby Napper and the basinet will be useful to keep her entertained.
I do feel like it has some shortcomings. The Nearby Napper does not fold or collapse in any way, so I wouldn’t call it portable. It’s much more functional as a baby station in the home than it would be for travel. There is also no way to wash the fabric on the Nearby Napper, which isn’t ideal with a newborn. I also had a hard time rotating the napper from the basinet side to the seat side. That being said, my newborn does like both the basinet and seat. She sleeps well in both, which is the most important thing at the end of the day.
I would recommend this playard to parents who are looking for a fully-loaded “baby center” for their infant—on another floor of their home or even at the grandparents’ house if baby will be spending lots of time there.
Where to buy: amazon.com