Baby Trend Nursery Center Play Yard

By Published On: June 30th, 2014

When you’re a mama of two in a tiny house, […]

When you’re a mama of two in a tiny house, less is always more—less “stuff,” that is. That’s why the Baby Trend Nursery Center Play Yard has earned my mom stamp of approval. It’s smart design allows it to function as a bassinet, changing table and play pen all-in-one. (Space-saver alert!) As if that wasn’t enough, the play yard also features additional bells and whistles, like a handy diaper stacker, electronic pod and darling matching mobile.
When the play yard first arrived at our doorstep, my husband and I were eager to begin set up—maybe too eager. After a cursory glance at the instruction manual, we went to work. (Disclaimer: We both have patience-issues when it comes to set-up guides and prefer a trial-and-error approach to product assembly.) Fortunately, the assembly was intuitive, and there were no major snags along the way.
We did have some difficulty trying to lock the side railings into place. The center of the play yard has to remain higher than the side rails in order for them to lock, but the center naturally tends to fall flat, which makes locking the rails a bit of a challenge. After a few attempts, we discovered that it worked best for me to hold the center up and for my husband to lock each rail in place. From that point on, the rest of the assembly was as simple as could be. Altogether, the play yard came together in a mostly-painless 15 minutes.
Once we stepped back to admire our handiwork, I was instantly in love. The play yard feels sturdy and features a super-sweet owl design and neutral color scheme that doesn’t scream “baby!” from a mile away. When we added the “fun” extras, like the diaper stacker and bassinet, I was even more smitten. We excitedly laid our little girl on her belly and she began to coo over the cute-as-can-be owl characters on the play mat. (Like mama, like daughter!) They held her interest even longer thanks to their added texture. The center owl is a suede-type materials, while the rest of the mat has an easy-to-wipe surface. (No need to fear messy blow outs and spit-up here!)
Since that first introduction, the play yard has continued to do exactly what a good baby product should—keep baby safe and make mom’s life easier. The bassinet setting makes laying my little girl down for naps and picking her up for middle of the night nursing sessions easy-breezy. (No back-breaking stooping!) And, diaper changes are more convenient than ever. The flip-away changing table can be moved in and out of place in a matter of seconds, and the diaper stacker keeps diapers and wipes within easy reach, which means no more frustrating searches for the wipes case at 2 a.m.
Because of the quality of the rest of the play yard, I was surprised at the basic design of the mobile. The owls hang from the mobile but have to be moved manually, otherwise baby quickly loses interest. Fortunately, our little boy has made it his full-time job to stay close and shake them into motion. Similarly, the electronic pod’s music sounds and vibrating feature have done more to entertainment our toddler than to soothe our baby, but a light touch to the edges of the play yard give the bassinet a swaying hammock motion that puts her right to sleep. Once she is down for the count, the night light has been a lifesaver. I’m no longer fumbling around on my side table to turn on my phone’s flash light for middle-of-the-night diaper changes.
As with most every play yard, we’ve found that the mat offers minimal padding. I wouldn’t mind the firm feel if we were using the play yard for an occasional nap or sleepover at grandma’s,  but because we are using the play yard as our baby’s primary sleeping quarters, I plan to purchase a Baby Trend foam mattress to add softness to the floor.
Also, because this is our baby’s daily bed, the play yard has remained stationary for the most part since we set it up. On the occasion that I do want to move it, it’s an easy task thanks to the built-in wheels. (One drawback: the changing station has to be removed in order for the play yard to fit through our doorways, but this can be done with a simple push and turn of a button.) Likewise, break down is simple and straightforward. I wish there was an additional carrying case for all the “extras,” but to avoid having to keep up with the separate pieces, we have traveled only with the play yard. It’s not too heavy for me to hoist into the trunk on my own–and have even managed to do it with a baby in one arm. 
While there may be a change or two I’d like to make to the Baby Trend Nursery Center Play Yard, all in all, she’s a sweet package of baby product goodness.
Price: $100
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