My mother-in-law spared no opportunity to laud the wondrous and all mighty playpen. Yes, it’s useful when traveling or when you just can’t chase after your wee one any longer. But she relied on it so much with my husband, I’m surprised he doesn’t have a permanent mesh imprint on his face.

Now when she suggests it for baby #3, I can tell her to go to… Wagamama Baby. Translation: Spoiled rotten, in Japanese..

Granted, this absolutely gorgeous, soft mat called a zabu is not entirely a playpen alternative, unless you’ve got a wee tiny one that doesn’t really go anywhere just yet. But insert it in a playpen or hotel crib and flip up the sides to create a luxe (and clean!) mattress/crib bumper combo. In other words, you’ve just turned the equivalent of a camp cot mattress and turned it into a top-of-the-line Serta.

The coordinating strap and easy roll-up make it a perfect travel companion, especially for sleepover at the grandparents’ place. And the numerous fabric choices include two eco-friendly bamboo-blend options.

At least you’ll know that if the MIL is going to stick them in the playpen, they’re going to enjoy every last minute of it. –Kristen

Congrats to Nicole S, who won a Large Kayden Baby Zabu!