The debate rages on about the "playpen" aka playard/pack 'n play. Over on Slate.com, Tom Vanderbilt does an excellent job of exploring the playpen- from its history to its place in modern parenting, if any...
A 1925 newspaper advertising something called the "Kiddie Koop" put it this way: "There is no thrill like that of holding and caring for a baby in your arms," it began. "Yet the modern mother with her manifold duties must—simply MUST—forego such maternal joys at times, or the 'regulation of household affairs' will suffer."
On the other side, many arguments have been made that too much time spent in the playpen can slow development and even affect reading and writing skills later in life.
By the end of the article, Vanderbilt leaves us with this quote from the newly released "The Philosophical Baby" by Alison Gopnik, "Parents should try to think not 'How will this affect my baby in the long run?'—who knows?—but 'Is this helping my baby and me to thrive right now?' "
You can find the article in its entirety here.
Illustration by Charlie Powell.