Review: Graco Pack ‘n Play playard with newborn napper

A complete care station for your baby that has all the extras you will need from birth until they move to their first bed.

graco pack n play with newborn napper

If you are expecting your first baby and have a long shopping list of gear – a cot, bassinet, changing table, some kind of storage area – this is a really neat solution. It’s got all the bits you require and they all fit together so your baby gear doesn’t end up taking over the whole house.

A snug nest for your newborn

The first piece of kit you will use when you bring your baby home from the hospital is the newborn napper. When you see how tiny a newborn actually is, you’ll realize why you need some kind of smaller option than the full-size cot which will initially feel like a swimming pool to your newborn.

The napper is designed to replicate the snug sensation of the womb that will comfort and soothe your baby. It’s shaped like a little nest, the fabric is really soft and there’s a newborn headrest insert so baby really feels warm and cuddled. And it doesn’t have to sit on top of the cot, you can take it around the house with you if you want to get some chores done or take a shower or whatever while baby naps. There’s also a removable canopy that will shield baby from the light and noise.

Another plus is the fact that it’s at a slight incline. This can often help baby sleep if your baby has digestion problems or suffers from reflux or cholic.

You can use the napper until baby starts to grow out of it or can roll over, generally between 2 and 3 months old.

And a larger pre-cot bassinet

graco newborn napper
Like all Graco playards, this one has a bassinet which sits on the top inside the main frame and is safely clipped on all four sides. You can use both the napper and bassinet in unison – the napper for short day time naps and the bassinet for longer stretches of sleep at night-time. While the napper simulates the snug sensation of the womb, the roomier bassinet has more thrashing around space for baby and also allows you to pile on more blankets for longer night time sleeps.

You may wonder why you need both. Well, you don’t necessarily “need” both, but with an unpredictable newborn baby, it is handy to have both options. Unfortunately you don’t get to meet your baby beforehand and ask him his preferences, but you will find that they have very different personalities and tastes. Some will love to be cosied up in the napper and hate the lost feeling of the bassinet, while others may feel enclosed and frustrated in the napper and love the leg room of the bassinet.

If the latter, and you find that your baby never sleeps in the napper you could always use it as an extra changer.

Transition to the cot

newborn napperEither way, as your baby grows and starts to move around more and roll over, you’ll want to move him full-time in to the bassinet which is roomier and deeper, so safer for a growing baby. It is good until baby reaches 15lbs or starts to push up on hands and knees.

It will make for a gentle transition for baby towards the full-size cot and you will find that it’s really handy for laying baby down rather than having to reach down in to the bottom of the cot.

When your baby outgrows it, you simply remove the bassinet attachment and place baby on the lower level padded mattress to sleep.

Of course, the beauty of the Graco design is that the cot also doubles as a play area.

A safe play area

Because the playard is constructed of a sturdy metal frame with large mesh openings on all four sides it can be used as a secure play area. It’s robust enough that it can’t be toppled over easily and the mesh allows for maximum ventilation plus you can keep an eye on your little bundle of mischief.

Handy diaper station

The wipe-clean changer and diaper storage area save you having to march to the nursery every time baby poops, which is quite a lot for newborns! The changer is good and sturdy, attaches at the side and can be removed with the push of a button. The standard is good for up to 15lbs or you can opt for the Deluxe which can handle up to 30lbs.

Good for car travel

This playard IS pretty heavy, there’s no getting around that. On a plane it would be a total pain but for car travel where weight isn’t an issue it’s not a problem.
To collapse and get in the bag should take about 10 minutes once you get the hang of it.
Graco Travel Lite
You’ll need to remove the changer and napper first, then press a push button on the top bar and pull on a cord in the base of the cot, then fold the whole thing together pushing on the side metal bits. The bassinet will fold down with it. The feet and wheels fold in automatically, then once it’s in a neat bundle you wrap the mattress pad around it and the whole thing slips in to a carry bag.

The napper and changer sit in to each other if you want to pack them separately or if only away for one night you might choose to make do without them.

Here’s a really good video review by a mom which shows all the main features:


Weight: 31.5 lbs
Dimensions: 33.3 x 28.5 x 40 inches

Optional bells and whistles

Graco Pack n Play averyThis playard comes in a few variations:

The Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Newborn Napper Station is the standard model.


The Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Newborn Napper Station Deluxe has these extras:Graco newborn napper deluxe

  • Sturdier changer, can handle up to 30lbs
  • Built-in shelves
  • Songs, sounds and vibrations
  • Toy bar


Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Newborn Napper Elite, Vance
Extras:Graco newborn napper elite

  • Deluxe deep storage pouch
  • Sturdier changer, can handle up to 30lbs
  • Extra-soft velour napper with canopy
  • Songs, sounds and vibrations and MP3 docking station


Graco Pack ‘n Play with Reversible Napper-Changer
Extras:Graco Pack N play reversible napper

  • Reversible napper/changer. This is one piece. One side is a fabric napper; flip it over and it’s a wipe-clean changer. It is good for space-saving, if you don’t want to have too many extra bits and pieces with your playard.
  • Toy bar


Recommended for:

Complete care station for baby. Also travel cot for car trips.
Any of the Graco playards with newborn napper are ideal care stations for baby, either for use in mum’s bedroom, their own nursery or as a secondary cot for downstairs or grandma’s house.



Alternatively, other cribs I recommend

That’s smaller… Graco-Travel-Lite-playard200x149Graco Travel Lite crib
That’s more for travel…Koo-Di-Bubble-travel-cot200x149Samsonite Koo-Di cot
Great for air travel…phil-and-teds-travel-crib200x149Phil and Ted’s Traveller

2 Comments Add yours

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *