In my humble opinion, there are very few actual necessities in terms of baby gear. They need somewhere safe to sleep, for sure, but basically everything else is convenient or nice to have – but not a necessity. Sure, strollers, swings, high chairs, bouncy seats, nose suckers… they’re all great to have. Can you get by without them? Yes.
This product, though – I’m having trouble imagining a world where I can get by without it. I’m talking about the Summer Infant Pop N’ Play.
I actually bought this product before my daughter was even born. It was a great price on Amazon Prime Day, and I thought it might be great to keep at the grandparent’s house. It just sat in our garage for a long time. My daughter is ten months, insanely mobile, and quite curious. I should mention that I also have a three year old son, who is old enough to tell me when she’s finding something she shouldn’t (like a connect four piece), but not old enough to keep those items away without adult intervention… though we’re trying.
One night as I was trying to prepare dinner in that hectic hour before my husband gets home from work, I was stressed out trying to not spill hot food on her as she crawled around the kitchen floor. Sometimes I wear her when cooking, but she only cooperates sometimes. My husband walks in the door to pure chaos and gently reminds me we have this play yard. He grabs it, sets it up, and places her in. She loves it.
We do have the play yard panels… aka baby jail. My daughter is not a fan of those, though – I think it is hard for her to see out of them and made her feel enclosed. The Summer Infant play yard is much different! The entire sides are made of mesh, which means she can see everything happening on the other side without obstruction.
The Pop N’ Play is incredibly easy to set up and break down. You are essentially just moving a buckle from left to right. It packs up small, too – easy to carry from place to place. It’s also very sturdy. My toddler hangs from the side and climbed the bars and it has held up well.
I have used this play yard in our living room, in backyards, on the beach, and at the lake. On each occasion I have been so happy to have this with me – I know my daughter is safely contained while I am busy (usually cooking, setting up other gear, or maaaaybe just relaxing).
Overall I really do think this play yard is worth every penny and recommend it to anyone with a mobile baby. It retails for $79.99 but is currently on sale on Amazon for $56.99 with free shipping!