The 5 Best Pack and Play Mattresses of 2023
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Infants will spend the better part of their day sleeping, typically anywhere from 14-17 hours a day! Investing in a great crib mattress is money well spent, but don’t forget about the time your baby may also be spending in a pack and play.
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Pack and Plays are not only convenient portable sleeping options, but they are also a great option for corralling little ones with a safe place to play. Anytime baby sleep comes into play you want to reduce any risk of SIDS, meaning that having a sturdier mattress is key. Even though they come with a thin sleeping surface, spending a little extra money on a quality mattress will give you the peace of mind that when it’s serving as a place to sleep, your baby will be comfortably supported.
Our Top Picks
- Best Portable Option - Hiccapop Tri-fold Pack and Play Mattress
- Best Breathable Option - Dream on Me Breathable Mattress
- Best Waterproof Option - Milliard Classic Pack and Play Mattress
- Best Durable Option - Dream on Me Pocket Coil Mattress
- Best Lightweight Option - NapYou Amazon Exclusive Mattress
What to Consider when Purchasing a Pack and Play Mattress
When you think about babies, your first thought might be soft and plush; however, when it comes to sleep you want a firm mattress and a tight fitting sheet. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) “Mattresses should be firm and should maintain their shape even when the fitted sheet designated for that model is used.”
As infants grow into toddlers you can consider a mattress with a little more give that isn’t quite so hard, so take into consideration the age of your child who will be using the pack and play. There are also options where you can flip between a firm side for a baby and a softer side for a toddler.
Consider the material both on the inside and outside of a mattress. Added chemicals are often used to make mattresses flame retardant, so depending on your comfort level keep that in mind. You can find mattresses ranging all over the place from lightweight foam, organic cotton, plastic-based, water resistant and many more. Keep an eye out for materials that are easily washable to avoid mildew and other germs.
If you’re truly using a pack and play for easy portability and convenience, you don’t want to have to also be lugging around a mattress as well. There are options that fold up just as small for easy packing and many come with their own carry bag with handles for convenience. Whether folding up to store away or folding up to travel, tri-fold pack and play mattresses are a good option.
How We Chose Our Favorites
We scoured reviews all over the internet for the best pack and play mattresses so you don’t have to. We also consulted real parents and thought about our own parenting experiences to help choose the best pack and play mattresses for you and your baby.
The Best Portable Option
This is a lightweight option that is designed to be able to fold and go. If you’re traveling or on the move and in need of a portable sleep option, you’re likely also looking for a portable mattress option, too.
The convenient travel case gives you a set of handles to easily pick up and go. An added benefit to this mattress is that it is dual-sided; a firm infant side, and a softer toddler side allow this mattress to grow with your child. Pack and plays create a portable sleep area for more than just infants, and having an option that will last throughout the years will save you time and money.
“Great Product. Provides a comfy but safe sleep surface for young babies too, unlike similar products that are not reversible. I researched some other mattresses and people were complaining that the memory foam was too soft for young babies to sleep safely, but this one solves that problem. Also It fits our Graco Pack n Play perfectly and leaves no gaps. It folds up and is lightweight so it is easy to travel with, and it fits in my hubby's luggage so we can even fly with it.”
The Best Breathable Option
If materials are an important factor to you, this Dream on Me Mattress would be an ideal option. Not only does it introduce breathe flow technology, but it is GREENGUARD Gold Certified, has been tested for phthalate and lead and passes all Federal Flammability Standards. This mattress is also dual-sided, offering a firm infant side, and a waterproof toddler side so you will get years of use out of it as your child grows. It does not fold, so is not as portable as the Hiccapop option, but is a high quality, breathable, safe option for sleeping.
“I babysit my grand baby once a week and this is perfect. The mattress is thick enough to be comfortable for him.”
The Best Waterproof Option
Having a waterproof mattress eliminates the need for an additional mattress cover as well as a sheet, and having to remember to pack one less thing is helpful particularly when traveling.
You can remove the zippable waterproof cover for easy cleaning. This softer foam mattress is lightweight and easy to travel with; however, it is not a hard firm surface meant for new babies.
You’ll find that the washable cover is convenient, and helps protect the foam mattress allowing it to last longer while avoiding potential mildew or odor.
“Great mattress. Fits perfectly in our Graco pack n play which we're using as our crib while moving--there are no gaps around the edges.Before getting this, baby would wake up when I set her down, but now she falls back to sleep so I think she's a bit more comfy. It's not loud or anything when she moves. The cover comes off and on easy, and fits fine after washing it. It's not overly soft, either which I'm happy about.”
The Best Durable Option
The inner springs in this mattress help make it extra firm and durable. The coils are covered in hypoallergenic foam so that your baby doesn’t feel discomfort, but are still on a firm surface perfect for sleeping.
Not made to fold up and travel, but this mattress is a good addition to pack and plays that do not need to be stored regularly.
You will be happy to learn that this mattress is a waterproof option which has antibacterial elements to help eliminate mold, mildew and odor. They are 3” thick and made of high quality materials which will help them withstand years of use. This is truly a durable option that is a great addition to pack and play users.
“A real blessing. Firm enough to be safe but softer than our regular toddler mattress. At 1-2 mos old our daughter would fall asleep on our chest then wake as soon as laid down in her crib. This mattress didn't seem to jar her awake when laid down, helping to wean her from being held throughout her naps. Additionally, since they share a bedroom, this gives a safe, supportive alternative to her crib when it is not practical.”
The Best Lightweight Option
Made of organic cotton and polyester foam, this foldable pack and play mattress is lightweight and easy for travel. This tri-fold pack and play mattress with easy carrying case makes for quick and easy set up and breakdown for families traveling or on the go.
If you’re looking for something lightweight chances are it’s because you plan to move it frequently, this is the best mattress option for easy storage or travel while still being firm and comfortable for sleeping.
“I purchased this to fit in our Graco pack & play. It fits perfectly and the Graco pack & play sheet fits on it amazingly well. I love that this folds up and has its own travel bag. It comes in handy when we travel. My toddler finds it way more comfortable to lay on when sleeping.”
How to Use a Pack and Play
Pack and plays serve several purposes, from a toddler play yard to a safe sleeping area.
If you’re looking to purchase a pack and play, we recommend the basic Graco Pack and Play or the Graco Pack and Play Travel Dome with Portable Bassinet.
- Convenient for travel: If your child is still sleeping in a crib at home, then chances are they can still comfortably sleep in a pack and play. If you’re traveling somewhere that won’t have a crib, a pack and play is a convenient alternative. Just because you’re traveling doesn't mean you have to sacrifice a comfortable mattress. Plus, they are super easy to assemble.
- Safe sleep space for extra rooms or houses: If you’re sleeping with your baby in your room for the first few months, or if they need to nap in a different room than the nursery, or they frequently visit with a relative, a pack and play is a great alternative option than a second crib that permanently takes up space. A portable crib mattress means you don’t need to take up floor space when not in use.
- Portability: One of the best perks to a pack and play is that it is portable and easy to set up and break down. If you’re spending time in the yard, on the deck, or at a friends house you can use it as a safe play space, and then when your baby gets sleepy, pop the mattress in and let them enjoy a nap on the go. Many mattresses are easily washable, so you don’t have to worry about the dirt that comes with a nap while on the go.
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Jennifer is currently working for a US-wide health care system, Jennifer has worked professionally for 13+ years in the fields of early education and leadership, including in the role of Director with the international edu