But it was a long long time before Little Man slept through the night and I swore that if we ever had another baby I wouldn’t be spending my nights leaning in over a cot or a crib, trying to settle a baby and missing out on precious sleep in the process.
I never considered bed sharing because I was too nervous that one of us would roll over on our newborn baby. So a cosleeper cot seemed the ideal solution. A little bit of research later and we bought an Arms Reach Co-sleeper while I was still pregnant.
Setting it up
I imagined it would be much like a travel cot to set up, but it proved to be more complicated than that. Popping the cot frame open is relatively easy, but it takes about 15 minutes by the time you get all of the pieces together. Inside the main frame you place four hanging bars, which are connected by metal poles. This in turn forms the base for the suspended bassinet that you use for newborns.
Then you stretch the large fabric cover over the entire co-sleeper, buttoning it in place. You put one of the specially made sheets on the mattress and then lay it into place. And finally you position the cosleeper beside your bed and attach it securely to the bed using the straps provided.
Using the cosleeper
After the initial setup that was it. The cosleeper was solid and sturdy. I used to check every so often that it was still securely attached to the bed, but it was. There were never any issues with it.
From the day we got home from hospital I was in love with the cosleeper. Through the night, my baby was right beside me, but safe in her own sleeping space. When she woke I could stretch out a hand to touch her or soothe her. Because I was breastfeeding, I never had to get out of bed at night, even when she woke to be fed. I would just sit up slightly to lift her over to me, then feed her and pop her back in. I barely woke for the whole thing. I lost count of how many times I asked why we didn’t have a cosleeper first time around.
If I have any complaints about the Arms Reach Cosleeper, they are minor. The first is that even though it markets itself as doubling as a travel cot, I don’t think it is practical for a short visit anywhere. It just takes too long to assemble and dismantle.
The second is that even though the bar on the side of the cosleeper is padded, I found that when I was placing my baby back into the cosleeper I would end up leaning heavily on the metal bar with my arm as I lowered her in. Fine when she was a newborn, but we used the cosleeper with her until recently and once she was over four months, her weight meant that my arm got sore leaning on that bar. It even bruised a little where I’d lean on the same spot each night.
Those niggles aside though, I have no hesitation in recommending a cosleeper to anyone, especially if you are planning to breastfeed. I am sure that the fact that I was more rested from not having to get out of bed at night contributed to our successful breastfeeding relationship this time around.
And for any of my friends who are expecting babies, and who are like me and nervous about bedsharing, I always recommend looking into a cosleeper as an option instead. It’s the best of both worlds as far as I am concerned.