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Baby Product Review: Chicco Lullaby LX Playard

August 28th, 2008

Our original plan involved Maddie sleeping in a bassinet by our bed for the first few months. We wanted a playard (commonly referred to as a “pack-n-play” which is the Graco brand), as we figured that this would be convenient at home as well as travel. We chose the Chicco Lullaby LX Playard in Race Red, as pictured here. We received the one that we wanted from Aunt Kristin and Crazy Uncle Chad, and they assisted us in putting it together.

The first thing that we noticed about the playard is that it was quite a bit larger than we had expected. The Chicco Lullaby does not fold as compactly as we would have liked for traveling. We also discovered after putting it together that it is too wide for a standard doorway. If you planned to wheel the bassinet from one room to another, then this playard would not work for you. Fortunately, we didn’t have plans to move it once we had it set up, but we assembled it in the living room and realized the problem when trying to move it to our bedroom!

The first time that we assembled the playard was tricky. Crazy Uncle Chad declared that the designers of this baby product should work for NASA. Once you put it together once or twice, it isn’t too hard to assemble or disassemble. Based on my experiences with the Chicco Playard and a Graco Pack-n-Play, it seems to be pretty standard.

The bassinet portion of the playard was wonderful for Maddie’s first 4-5 months. We used it exclusively in our bedroom. We were thankful to have a portable crib in our room, even if she didn’t spend the entire night in the bassinet. This playard is sturdy, and we felt it was great for our purposes. We kept it fully assembled for the entire 5 months, and now we use the non-bassinet portion in cases where we need to keep Maddie safe for a few minutes if Gabe and I can’t be right there with her to watch her.

My parents purchased one of the $59.99 Graco Pack-n-Play models to keep at their house. We have been to visit a few times, on our way to Atlanta or Gatlinburg. Each time, we have used the pack-n-play at their house and carried it with us to our other destinations. The $59.99 Graco model folds up much more compactly, making it much more convenient for travel. I think that the Chicco Lullaby model is sturdier, but it is more expensive. At $169.99, it just isn’t the best value. If I had to do it over again, I would probably just get a bare bones model like the $59.99 Graco model.

Here are some of my thoughts on the fancy features of the Lullaby that you would not get with a cheaper model:

Electronics with music, vibration, a nightlight, and a remote control: I’m not sure that I would consider this a necessary feature, but we did use it. We didn’t use the music too much, but we felt that the vibration feature helped Maddie get to sleep better some nights. One problem with it is that it doesn’t stay on for more than 6 minutes at a time. She’d be sleeping, the vibration would stop, and if we didn’t turn it back on quickly enough, she would awaken. The nightlight was somewhat handy in those early days where I was paranoid about whether the baby was sleeping or not. It was just bright enough to see her, but not bright enough to disturb her slumber. I used the remote a few times, but I had the bassinet close to the bed and could reach the buttons without getting out of bed. The electronic feature seemed to be quite the battery hog. I’m not sure if it used batteries while waiting on a signal from the remote or what, but it seemed like it used batteries faster than it should have based on use.

Toy Gym: The Chicco Lullaby has a very cute mobile/toy gym that can hang over the mattress. We thought that this was great until we realized that there’s no way to put a playard sheet onto the mattress AND attach the toy gym at the same time. The mattress cover is washable, but we wanted an extra layer of protection in case an accident occurred in the middle of the night. The mattress can be used separately as a playmat with the attached toy bars on the floor, but we already had several of these types of mats and had no need for this feature.

Changing Table Attachment: We actually used this for a little while, but it did not work very well for us. Due to the way it attaches and the nature of the construction, I don’t feel that there’s any way to get it very level. This causes the baby to roll and slide to one side. As you might expect, this makes changing her a bit more challenging. The changing table was not terribly convenient to attach and detach, especially in the middle of the night. During the day when she wasn’t using the bassinet, it might have worked better. The changing table was also a bit low for taller people. We discovered this and decided to use the changing table from her nursery in our bedroom instead. This worked much better for us.

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