|This paticular colour scheme is only|
available at BabiesRUs.
Let's start with an item that I use multiple times every day: the Graco Pack 'N Play Playard with Portable Lounger and Changer. Graco makes over a dozen versions of its PNP product, some with the lounger (or napper) and changer, some without. If, like me, your baby's bedroom is on another level, get the PNP with the extra features.
It's basically your classic playpen that's been enhanced with a few highly useful extras. The biggest one is the reversible lounger and changer; one side is a cozy place for baby to sleep while the other is an easy-to-clean changing area. To keep baby entertained while in the lounger/changer, there's a mobile. The lounger/changer can also be popped off and then used around your house as a bassinet.
The playpen also comes with a diaper stacker but I use it to house clothes that I use to dry baby's face or bum. Instead, I keep all my diapering supplies as well as extra clothes and toys on the elevated mat. This mat is suppose to serve as a sleeping surface for when baby gets too big for the lounger but it also works nicely as a baby stuff "hub."
|My baby stuff hub in action|
Yes, I know, you can change a baby on the floor or existing piece of furniture however, I have a dog, a bad back and furniture that I like. So for me, have an elevated, separate changing space is necessary. And so is having such a space on our main floor, since I don't want to be carrying an angry, poopy baby up and down stairs.
Also necessary? A changing surface that is easy to clean. While the lounger side is covered in a soft fabric, the changer side is plastic. This makes it a breeze to wipe down and means we don't have to mess around with change pads or covers (in case you're wondering or are my mother, we put a cloth under Baby's head to keep her comfortable).
All too soon we're going to have to do away with the napper/changer (Baby already no longer sleeps in the napper because she's too big) and when that day comes, I'm going to be sad. However, I think I can modify my baby stuff hub set-up so that we can still change Baby in the PNP and still have all of her essentials close at hand for a little while longer. And once she outgrows that stage, the PNP will become a regular play pen, which, in a house with a dogs and stairs, is a key item to have.
One of the big selling features of this and similar products is that they are easy to pack up and move around. I've actually never moved my PNP but I know people who do travel with them and they tell me that while these aren't the lightest or smallest items, they do fold up easily and travel well.
Toys R Us sells the Graco Pack 'N Play Playard with Portable Lounger and Changer for around $270 online. However, you can often find these items for cheaper on Kijiji or in baby buy-sell groups.
Do I recommend this product to new parents: If baby's room is on a different floor, the answer is an easy yes. But if you're in a one- or two-bedroom apartment, this is item likely isn't necessary.