The playpen is the baby's first room. Let it be a safe base and a place to play. Here you can screen your child from older siblings or family pets. Your baby can also play in safety without supervision, while you run out with the garbage or make some food in the kitchen. Make the playpen a cozy place that your little one loves.
A playpen is not absolutely necessary but it is a good idea to get one when your family expands. It can be a quiet zone for the baby, a nice place to play, and then it can also be a help for you when needed because it allows you to get your hands free.
Playpen - for or against?
Are you in doubt whether you should get a playpen or not when your new baby is born? Many things speak in favor of using one. Some of the benefits can be:
Benefits of the crawl space
- It shields the baby - the playpen protects and shields the baby from animals and older siblings.
- It is a quiet zone - playpens act as a zone with peace and quiet.
- It gives you free hands - the playpen is a safe space to place baby while you arrange practical things.
- It protects against drafts - if it is foot cold in your home, it lifts your baby up from the cold floor.
- It provides security - the playpen keeps the baby away from wood stoves, cabinets and drawers.
Create a cozy play corner in the playpen
Why use a playpen?
A playpen can have many purposes. First and foremost, the playpen is a safe place that ensures the safety of your little one. Here you can place the baby so that you can get your hands free to fix other things without worrying about the baby rolling on the floor or getting hurt.
If you have a dog in the family, it can be practical to be able to hold the baby 'behind bars', so that it cannot pull the dog by the tail, and the dog does not accidentally tumble over her. If there are older siblings who are playing wildly, or who do not yet understand that little sister can not stand so much, it is also nice to know that the youngest is safe when you leave the room for a short moment.
When your baby starts to move around on its own at the age of 8-10 months, it's okay to entertain the little curious fingers in the playpen for a short period at a time - so you can just have time to do a quick wash or make coffee, without having to be afraid of accidents when you turn your back for a brief moment.
When do babies start using a playpen?
You can put your newborn in the playpen from day one. For the first few months, the baby can neither grab for things nor hold its own head, so for the first time, the playpen will primarily function as a safe shed and barely as much as a playground.
The older your little child gets, the more the playpen will also become a place for playing and exploration of the world in a safe environment.
For how long do babies use a playpen?
When your baby is around 8-10 months old, it will typically be time to pack the playpen away. The larger the playpen, the longer your child can use it. For example, there has to be room for the baby to roll from back to tummy at 5 months of age.
When your child begins to practice standing on its own around the age of 9 months, the playpen can also be a great place to practice balance. Here it is important that the playpen has firm and solid sides that are at least 60 cm high so that your child does not fall out.
You can use the crawl space for as long as you like - but keep in mind that the more mobile the little one becomes, the more he should be allowed to explore the living room and the rest of the house on his own, and the shorter the stays in the playpen.
Where should you place the playpen?
Place the playpen in the place where the rest of the family spends the most time, so that the baby is still part of the social gathering. Or place it in the room where you most often need free hands. For example, it can be in the kitchen so your child can keep up while you cook.
If you choose a playpen with wheels, you can move it when you move into another room yourself. And if the space is a little cramped in your home, it is also easier to get it out of the way if there are wheels underneath.
What size should a playpen be?
It is a good idea to choose a playpen that is large enough for the baby to turn from back to stomach and be allowed to move around so that there is room to train new motor skills. Most importantly, the sides should be at least 60 cm high so that your child can stand up against them.
Can a baby sleep in the playpen?
There is nothing wrong with letting your child sleep in the playpen - if he falls asleep in the middle of a play, the playpen is a safe place to let him sleep on. You can just cover him with a small blanket.
However, to lay your baby for a nap in a playpen where your child is used to being active and playing is probably going to be a challenge. Nor is it a good idea for sleeping routines if you want to teach the little one to sleep in his own bed.
Good advice when choosing a playpen
- Round slats - choose a playpen with round slats so that your child can not hit hard edges.
- Check the distance between the slats - there must be 4.5-6 cm between the slats so that your child does not risk getting stuck.
- Adjustable bottom - prioritize an adjustable bottom that can be raised and lowered. For the first few months, it is convenient that there is not far down when you need to lift your newborn up. Later, you can lower the bottom so that your child can practice standing on their own with the help of the slats.
- Enough space - choose a playpen with enough space so that the baby can develop new motor skills.
- Fixed sides - choose a playpen with fixed sides so that your baby can stand up against them.
- Non-slip surface - make sure you have a non-slip surface in the playpen, e.g. a play mattress to prevent your child from falling and hitting herself.
- Wheels - if you need to move the playpen around quite a lot it can be practical to have wheels underneath.