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To playpen or to not playpen: that is the question

(33 Posts)
babyhedgehog Tue 04-Feb-14 23:01:12


Now that my six month old is rolling over and flipping about like a salmon in a stream, my Mum advised that I get a playpen for those moments that I need a breather/need to wash up/shower/have a coffee. Problem is, I've been reading some negative stuff online about 'jail' and 'locking them up'.

Are playpens really that bad? On one blog that was very anti-playpen, they said they just take their baby with them or put them in a bumbo when they need to do jobs around the house. I defy anyone that can hoover and hold a baby, and surely putting the baby in a seat where they can't move isn't preferable to putting them in a safe enviroment for a bit where they are able to play with their toys?

I've seen a really nice chicco one with a side that you can unzip so I thought it would make a nice den or 'reading nest' for my little girl when she's a toddler.

Does anyone know of any research that suggests playpens are bad or is the anti-playpen movement just another way to make Mum's feel bad?

This is my first post Mumsnetters so sorry if I'm not up to speed with any board etiquette.

Thanks smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 04-Feb-14 23:05:17

Never used one but my friend used a travel cot as a playpen with hers. Haven't got any links to research but am a bit surprised by your DMs suggestion of sticking Lo in a playpen while you have a shower. Do you live with another adult? Couldn't they have baby while you shower or couldn't you shower while Lo is asleep?

BackforGood Tue 04-Feb-14 23:06:50

Mine all went in "the prison" grin sometimes and it was invaluable.
Used to take it outside when I was cutting the grass or the hedge and keep them safe out in the sunshine as well. smile

I remember my Mum telling me that she would sometimes let dc1 go inside the playpen, to get a bit of peace and quiet (for example if he was doing a puzzle or something) to stop him being terrorised by dc2 who was a whirlwind grin

DesperatelySeekingSanity Tue 04-Feb-14 23:13:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fairylea Tue 04-Feb-14 23:19:44

Couldn't manage without mine!

He doesn't go in it unless he absolutely has to though... maybe 10 mins so I can have a shower and get dressed in the morning and perhaps an odd 5 minutes here and there for putting the bins out or going to the loo or having to put something upstairs. At least I know he is safe and can't hurt himself. He is 19 months now, used it from about 7 months I think. It's a bright and colourful mesh one from kiddiecare. I have it in the living room in front of the TV and I bung him in it with loads of toys and cbeebies on (!). He's happy as Larry smile

babyhedgehog Tue 04-Feb-14 23:20:50


Thanks - yes, 'shower' probably wasn't the best example. I do sometimes do this when she's asleep or before my husband has gone to work, but often I put her in the jumperoo in the next room (our shower's really quiet so I can hear her and can do a naked dash if needed - not that I've ever needed to: she's pretty happy jumping and playing in it for 10 mins).

babyhedgehog Tue 04-Feb-14 23:22:34

Although I would if I put the monitor on.

babyhedgehog Tue 04-Feb-14 23:24:39

Thanks smile I feel better about it now. Ooh..I'm glad I registered. I have so many other questions on other topics too so it's nice to get opinions from other Mums.

blueblackdye Tue 04-Feb-14 23:32:40

I had a wooden hexagonal one that DS could push along with him, it was to big to go through the door so he was contained in the living and dining rooms, he learned how to walk sith it and he was in safe place if I needed to answer the front door, go to the loo, hoover..... He had a few toys in with him to entertain him for 10 min.
Please don't compare it with a prison. We don't leave the child all day long in it.

golemmings Tue 04-Feb-14 23:56:46

Love our play pen. Still use it occasionally for ds who is 2.3.

it makes a great den too.

I tried using the travel cot outside for dd when she was small and I was mowing the lawn. The next time we went away she couldn't figure out why I wanted her to sleep in a play pen. After that the play pen was used for playing and the cot for sleeping.

slightlyglitterstained Wed 05-Feb-14 00:05:16

IME when DS decided he didn't like the playpen any more he let me know very VERY loudly. He was happy with it for a few months though, so as long as you can get one relatively cheaply I think it's worth it. It gave us a bit more time to get the living room properly babyproofed!

"Jail" and "locking them up" sounds exactly as you've put it - just another way to make mothers feel bad.

Meglet Wed 05-Feb-14 00:08:47

Loved ours. There was a period when it wasn't safe to cook with DD getting under my feet.

When baby DD was born I used to pop her in the playpen so her big brother wouldn't toddle in and stand on her.

Sadly he learnt how to break his little sister out of the playpen when she was 8/9 months old. They had beaten me sad.

MiaowTheCat Wed 05-Feb-14 08:38:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 05-Feb-14 09:59:49

Ask away smile

FishCalledWonder Wed 05-Feb-14 10:04:58

Also depends on your child's reaction to it. My nephew would play happily in there while my sister cooked etc. My DD hated it and screamed, so never an option for us.

Philosopanda Wed 05-Feb-14 10:06:57

Some of us don't have another adult around to look after the little ones whilst we need a shower or whatever.

I think it all depends on how you use it. Are you sticking baby in there all day even whilst he/she cries and clearly wants you? That's no good. That is a jail. Are you putting a happy baby down just now and then and still responding to his/her cues and needs? That's cool and just you caring about the safety of your baby.

As for hoovering and washing up, I used a sling or wrap when my babies were small. They were all snuggled into my back and could sleep for ages whilst I got on with the housework. Ahh, I miss those days. So simple compared to now. :-P

My youngest is now just under three and I've just started using a playpen/travel cot for when I need a shower. It's just me and her in the house during the day so I need somewhere for her to be safe and not toddling about wrecking the house and possibly putting herself in danger. She actually loves the 20-30 minutes she is in there a day. I fill it with different toys every day and even some crayons and paper. I give her a bottle of water and she's happy. In fact, many times she screams when I have to get her out because it's time to go get my other child from school. Haha!

So, it's all down to how you use it. Same with reins. I used them with my other child when he was small because he just didn't understand why running in the road was not cool and I finally had to give in and use them for sheer safety. I didn't pull him along and I tried to keep the tension on the "lead" loose until absolutely necessary. My daughter on the other hand stays with me so there's no need.

Only1scoop Wed 05-Feb-14 10:07:16

Never really used ours....used it more to block off parts of room.

MrsOakenshield Wed 05-Feb-14 10:10:38

I wish I had had one, or used the travel cot, instead of never being able to get things done because DD was so clingy. And depending on your child, don't think there's anything wrong with nipping for a 2 minute shower - I used to park DD in front of the television as I knew she wouldn't move - 4 years on she's still here, safe and sound!

soupmaker Wed 05-Feb-14 10:17:29

I got a second hand travel cot of Gumtree. Bloody brilliant. Means I don't lose my rolling 6 month old under the sofa any more! We call it the baby jail! A safe place to put babies for 10-15 minutes while you do other things is invaluable. Just keep rotating the toys or make sure they can see the tv for it shock

whatsagoodusername Wed 05-Feb-14 10:17:33

We had one of the hexagonal ones for DS2 - it was to keep DS1 out and off DS2 for his much needed tummy time!

Nothing wrong with them. Leave toys in there, leave the door open so they can go in and out generally and shut the door when you need to keep them contained! It's only a baby jail if they are never let out.

jaybirdsinginginthedeadofnight Wed 05-Feb-14 15:11:00

With DD 22months & DS 20weeks I would never get a shower without the playpen (we use travel cot). DD plays, while DS sleeps and I jump in shower, babies in same room me in ensuite grin

smearedinfood Wed 05-Feb-14 15:24:38

I didn't, but could block off a crawlers access with a baby gate in case of dropped glass in the kitchen.

HazleNutt Wed 05-Feb-14 15:24:42

I love our babyjail and so does DS. Safe place for him to play - it's not like I'm locking him in the cupboard under the stairs.

stressbucket1 Wed 05-Feb-14 20:08:14

We bought one but didn't really use it as DD was 14months before she crawled! Used a jumperoo a lot to keep her happy when I had to pop out of the room they are brilliant

LillianGish Wed 05-Feb-14 20:15:54

Couldn't have done without mine - can't see how it's any more of a jail than the bars on a stair gate, just a sensible precaution surely. Dd used to happily potter around in hers and used the bars to pull herself up to standing. It was more of a den than a pen!

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