Ideal newborn crib.
This is one of the most popular playards on Amazon, probably because it solves a problem most parents have – small bedrooms.
In fact our bedroom is pretty spacious, or so we thought when there were only two of us! But add a full-size cot and there’s no avoiding the tucked-in elbows. Regardless, a lot of parents will simply want to have a full-size wooden cot, or will inherit one, which will work perfectly in baby’s nursery. But for the first few nervous months when you want baby beside your bed for night feeds, the full-size cot will make a serious dent in your elbow room.
Another disadvantage with the full-size cot in your bedroom is that it will be too big to fit through your doorway, so you will have to disassemble it when moving it to the nursery. And unfortunately you can’t push-button collapse a wooden cot.
The perfect size crib for beside mum’s bed
By the time baby No. 2 was imminent we had learnt this valuable lesson and decided to get a smaller crib in our room that would also double as a travel cot for visits and trips. A friend recommended the Graco Travel Lite playard so we went with that, and turned out it was exactly what we needed! It is small and compact so really didn’t cramp our style too much and the caster wheels made it easy to shift around when necessary.
An unexpected bonus was the bassinet which sits on top of the crib. This was so handy for laying baby down for naps rather than having to reach down in to the bottom of the cot. Our little girl weighed a whopping 9lbs at birth and started piling on the pounds almost immediately so it was a real lifesaver for my back being able to place her safely at this higher level for naps.
By ten weeks old she had grown out of it so we clipped off the bassinet attachment and began using the lower level padded mattress for sleeping, but you may get longer out of it, it totally depends on your baby. The manufacturer recommends use until baby reaches 15lbs or is able to roll over which is generally about the 3 months old mark. Or try the Graco Travel Lite Crib with Stages
whose more robust bassinet can handle a baby up to 20lbs and can be placed at a lower level within the cot for her safety.
Blends in to the bedroom
Also compared to some of the more rough and tumble looking playards, this one actually looks like the romantic idea we have in our heads of our baby’s first crib. It’s got those frilly skirts at the base and the panels at the side are quilted plus the canopy with hanging toys give it a really sweet look. The pattern options are quite girly though: Ally – grey and pink. The Winslet in blue and grey would be suitable for a boy or the Fenwick in brown and blue, but this one doesn’t have the frilly skirts or quilted side panels.
Secure play area
The cot itself is constructed of a sturdy metal frame with large mesh openings on all four sides so as your baby gets older it can definitely be used as a secure playard – 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.
To be honest though, all of my kids hated to be confined in a small area like this, so I never got much use out of the Travel Lite for this purpose. Again, it will depend on your own child – apparently there are more docile children out there who will happily spend hours in their playard flicking through books or banging drums or whatever.
However, whether you actually use it for long periods of playing or not, it is always handy to have a secure area like this to place your baby/toddler in when the phone rings or someone comes to the door – even if you only use it for 2 minutes here and there, it can be very valuable.
And yup, as the name suggests this one travels lighter than other playards. The smaller dimensions mean it’s that much lighter than your standard playard, weighing in at less than 20lbs.
It’s not an instant set-up and break-down like a pop-up cot but it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Collapsing is more time-consuming than setting up. For this, you press a push button on the top bar, then fold the whole thing together pushing on the side metal bits. 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. My best time was 6 minutes 25 seconds and I’m not the most co-ordinated.
Watch this short video to get a feel for all the main features
Weight: 19.7 lbs
Dimensions: Height: 29.3″, Width: 22.8″, Length: 32″
Baby’s first crib that is small enough to fit beside your bed and that will also double as a travel cot.
The Graco Travel Lite really ticked both of these boxes for us. The smaller dimensions, the wheels, the high level newborn bassinet and the canopy to shield baby from light and noise made the early months with baby in our bedroom a lot more manageable. It was also fairly handy to pack up and take with us for nights away from home.
We bought this on the recommendation of a friend, but after extensive research since, I still think for these requirements this is the best option on the market at a really good price.
Alternatively, other cribs I recommend
|More suitable for travel…Phil & Teds Traveller Crib$150||Faster to assemble…Baby Bjorn Travel crib$239.99||That’s bigger…Graco Pack ‘n Play with Napper$170|