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How to make pack n play more comfortable? [4 Alternatives + 8 Easy Tips]

How to make pack n play more comfortable

📄 Table of Contents

Is your baby uncomfortable in their pack and play? A lot of parents feel the same way. You can make them a more comfortable environment with easy steps like:

  • adding a quilted or cotton sheet;
  • getting a mattress pad;
  • replacing the mattress;
  • or use a DIY solution.

Let’s now look in detail how to make pack n play more comfortable for your child.

Are Pack N Plays comfortable?

Playards are first and foremost designed for safety, convenience, and affordability. They come with enough cushioning, but some parents complain that the thin mattresses in these playpens are not comfortable for their babies.

Why are Pack n Play mattresses thin and hard?

Thin and firm surface mattresses inside these portable crib are worth the sacrifice for their portability. They are meant to reduce the risks of fabric stretching as extra padding can create safety risks.

How to make pack and play more comfortable?

If you’re still concerned about the firmness of the playard mattress, there are a few ways to make them soft. Most manufacturers advise against using additional mattresses or switching the one in it from the original design.

The younger the child, the more supervision they need. That’s why we can’t recommend these methods for infants. But if your toddler is a difficult sleeper, manufacturer-approved solutions are available.

Use pack n play sheets

There are different playpen sheets types, so make sure you get the right one. It’s best to check with your crib or playard manufacturer on what they recommend to provide the best comfort & safety.

Use padded or quilted pack n play sheets to add a layer of comfort

Your baby deserves only the best, which is why quilted pack n play sheets are so great. They come with cool colors, a soft padded texture and are sure to fit most pack n plays. Knowing the safety requirements for your model isn’t just a good idea – it’s essential! The wrong type can be dangerous for your child and compromise the product’s usability.

Get waterproof sheets to be accident safe

Adding a waterproof layer to your child’s playard can help minimize messes and keep the pack n play more comfortable when they sleep. Choose the right size sheets for a secure fit without compromising safety.

Cotton pack n play sheets are another great alternative

These sheets are made to be placed over a pad so that babies can lie there comfortably for hours. The jersey cotton used is soft and gentle, perfect for sensitive baby skin. It fits your pack n play and keeps the baby nice & warm to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep.

Get a comfy topper

There are many types of mattress toppers available for pack-and-plays. An important factor to keep in mind is that the mattress should be non-toxic and free of unsafe chemicals. Make sure it also has elastic straps to keep it tightly fitted in place.

We picked the most comfortable playard toppers

hiccapop Pack and Play Mattress Pad

This Pack n Play compatible pad is perfect for adding that extra comfort layer. It has two sides: a firm side for babies and a soft side for toddlers. The cover is beautifully textured and soft and is the perfect size to fit snugly in most playards. We highly recommend this mattress!

Tri-fold Travel Pack n Play Mattress Pad

The Tri-fold Travel Pad is a versatile dual-sided playpen mattress topper. It is extra thick for maximum comfort, stain-resistant, waterproof, and non-toxic. It fits perfectly with no gaps and is perfect for vacations and road trips.

Milliard Memory Foam Pack n Play Mattress Topper

The Milliard Memory Foam Pack N Play Topper is perfect for use in a pack n play and offers excellent support and comfort. It meets all CertiPUR-US standards for quality and safety, it’s non-toxic, and the padded waterproof cover keeps your mattress clean. It also comes with a set of elastic straps for added protection.

Get a comfortable pack n play mattress for your pack n play

Replacing the playpen mattress is not recommended by manufacturers. However, some parents do this to make their child more comfortable in the playpen. It’s important to make sure the baby’s new mattress fits snugly and is firm enough for them to sleep on.

Several mattresses are specifically designed for playpens and come with quick and easy installation. They offer a safe sleep experience for your child.

Dream On Me, Foam Pack and Play Mattress

Dream On Me Foam Mattress is a great option as it is GREENGUARD Gold-Certified, meaning it meets the highest safety standards possible. This made in USA mattress fits the most popular playards, so you can rest easy knowing your baby is sleeping in a safe and healthy environment. If you’re looking for a safe and comfortable place for your little one to snooze, the Dream On Me 3″ Foam Pack and Play Mattress is worth considering.

NapYou Amazon Exclusive Pack n Play Mattress

This organic cotton and foam mattress can be the perfect addition to your pack n play. Plus, it comes with a bonus easy-handle carry bag, making transport a breeze. Allow 24 to 48 hours for the foam to expand to its full size. Buy now and see why NapYou is the trusted name in baby gear.

Things to consider when buying a mattress to make the pack n play more comfortable

There are many different third-party mattresses on the market, but you must be careful when deciding which one to buy. Here is what to look for in a replacement playard mattress:

Safety certifications

When purchasing a crib mattress, one of the most important safety certifications to look for is certification from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Other safety certifications include NFPA, JPMA, and UL. These organizations have rigorous testing standards and will only certify mattresses that meet their safety requirements.


When choosing a mattress for your pack n play, it is important to make sure that it is the correct size and fits properly. If there are gaps between the mattress and the wall or bumps on the mattress, it can increase the risk of SIDS.

Age appropriate

It is important to get the right mattress for your baby. Children under twelve months should not be placed on plush surfaces because it can increase the risk of SIDS. Instead, opt for a firm mattress that will provide adequate support. As your child gets older, they may be able to transition to a softer surface, but always consult with your pediatrician first.

How do you know if you need a mattress topper or a new mattress?

Whether it’s a new mattress or a topper, you want to be sure that this is the best choice for your needs. To help you make an informed decision, here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Overly Firm Mattress: We recommend buying a mattress topper if the mattress is still new.
  2. Mattress Is Too Hot: Your baby might be sweating while they sleep because their mattress is not providing enough cooling. Get a new mattress to help keep them cool while sleeping
  3. Sagging Mattress: Your child’s sleep should be comfortable and safe. Replacing a mattress if it has gone through its time is the safest option.

Try these DIY solutions if you’re being frugal

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, the following DIY solutions. Now, these solutions may not be as comfortable as a traditional playard mattress, but they will get the job done. Plus, they are a fraction of the cost of a mattress.

DIY foam pad

Parents can make a pack n play more comfortable by adding an inch of foam as a pad. Get the foam pad from a local soft furnishings store and have it cut to match the existing playpen mattress. Then put the thin (1 to 2 inch) foam pad above the pack n play mattress pad and cover it with a fitted sheet to hold them all in place. Then put the new padded mattress back into the pack n play, making sure there are no gaps around the edges of the DIY mattress.

This hack is not recommended but some parents do it anyway because it’s cheaper.

DIY Playpen Mattress

First, cut out four sections of a foam pad using the Pack’ N Playmat as a guide. 

Stack the four foam cutouts on the Pack’ N Playmat and put the fitted play yard sheet over the foam and mat.

Place inside Pack’ N Play and make sure it is flat and has no gaps.

All done!

If you don’t want to do it yourself, check out the Dream On Me Playard Mattress, the #1 best seller on Amazon.

Add a blanket under a fitted sheet.

Adding a muslin blanket to the pack n play will make it softer and more comfortable for the baby. Muslin is a breathable, durable fabric that gets softer with each wash and will make it a more comfortable place for the baby to sleep or play.

Tips on how to make your baby’s sleepspace more comfortable

If your baby is having trouble sleeping in a pack n play, adjust their surroundings instead of the mattress. Give them time to get used to the new environment and they will eventually fall asleep. Just be patient.

Here are a few tips to make your baby more comfortable while sleeping in a pack and play.

Make the room darker

One common reason babies have trouble falling asleep in a playard is the brightness in the room. Being in a dark and secure space will help your baby drift off to sleep. Make sure they have the best chance of sleeping perfectly by making the room blackout dark.

This can often mean makeshift measures, such as putting towels over windows. You can also get travel blackout blinds, which may be worth it. Whatever helps the little one rest, right? This will help them sleep for an extended period, which is great for you- as a parent!

Use lights that induce calmness and encourage sleep

Some lights are known to be more calming and helpful in inducing sleep. You can get products like the Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine, which uses a pulsating light and sound to soothe your baby to sleep. Other great examples include the Cloud B Twilight Turtle or the Gro Company’s Orb Night Light. These products use colors and light patterns that are calming and known to help babies fall asleep faster.

Adjust the temperature according to weather and seasons

Make sure the room temperature is comfortable for your baby, depending on the season and how they’re dressed. For example, if it’s a bit chilly, you can wrap them in a sleep sack and pajamas that are the right thickness to keep them warm. You can also leave off the layers if it is unseasonably warm. Room thermometers can help, and most are slim enough to pack with you on a trip. Generally, babies sleep better in a cooler room, so set the thermometer lower and dress them to be warm enough.

Ensure adequate airflow

Pack n’ plays are often overlooked as a comfort factor, with mesh sides and the ability to allow air to flow around the baby. Make sure you pull it away from walls or hard objects and refrain from hanging blankets or clothes over the side of the pack n play.

A stuffy room is uncomfortable to sleep in, no matter your age. To make it more comfortable, we recommend using a fan that you can place next to the Pack N Play or inside SlumberPod. It will help move air around and make sleep even more comfortable.

Remove unwanted stuff from the pack n play

When using a playard, keep it a distraction and danger-free for your baby. This means no hanging mobiles or toys and keeping the sleeping area clear of other objects. This is important for your child’s safety as well as their comfort. Babies under 12 months should not have anything else in the crib with them aside from themselves. This includes toys, accessories, blankets, and pillows, increasing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Use a wearable sleep blanket

Like the Burt’s Bees Baby Unisex-Baby Beekeeper Wearable Blanket or Nested Bean Zen Sack, a wearable sleep blanket is a great way to keep your infant comfortable and safe while they nap. They’re perfect for keeping your little one warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and they help prevent them from kicking off their blankets during the night. Plus, they’re just plain adorable!

Play white noise

If you’re looking for a way to help your baby sleep comfier, consider playing white noise. I’ve mentioned Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine that is both night light and sound machine.

Make the environment smell like a caretaker

If your baby is having difficulty sleeping in a new place or environment, especially mothers can help them feel more comfortable by wearing their sleepsack or bottom sheet from the pack n play around your body for a few hours before bed. This will help them smell like you and feel more reassured.

Final word

If you’re a fan of pack and plays (or playards), you don’t need to pad or soften the manufacturer included mattress. Please take care with the ideas above. If you’re going to try them, only do so with children over 12 months.

Check the manufacturer’s suggestions, and never add additional blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals to any sleeping place with children under 12 months old. You can purchase a mattress and sheets specifically designed for your pack n play or take extra steps to keep the room dark, maximize airflow, and use a wearable blanket like the Nested Bean Zen Sack. Whichever route you choose, we hope this article helped give you some ideas.

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