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Posted by on Dec 7, 2013 in Reviews, Sleep | 8 comments

Co-sleeping made easy

Co-sleeping made easy

20131203-213308.jpgWhen we found out we were expecting Little Woman, I was determined to get a co-sleeper cot. First time around with her big brother we had used a rocking crib and then the full sized cot/cotbed.

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.

8 Comments

  1. I had an Arm’s Reach Mini co-sleeper for both my babies, and I found it great. The mini is probably easier to set up because you don’t have the inner suspended bassinet part (unless they’ve changed the design), but the baby grows out of it sooner, by four months or so. At that point mine were starting to roll over and I figured something else out for both of them.

    Sometimes, especially with the second, the co-sleeper was little more than a barrier to reassure me that she wouldn’t fall off the bed, as I kept her right beside me after the first or second feed rather than putting her back in. But it meant that, especially with a tiny newborn, I had no worries about squashing them or about their father elbowing them in the face if I kept them in between us instead of on my side of the bed.
    Christine recently posted..FrozenMy Profile

  2. This looks great-didnt know such a thing existed. Using the same moses basket with E Bear as with Mini but as I’m breastfeeding a lot more this time around, anything that would make the night time feeds easier would be much appreciated!I am like you-petrified of having her in the bed next to us for fear of squishing her!Any particular recommendation or would they all be pretty much the same do you think?
    Aedín Collins recently posted..Mini to 10!My Profile

    • If I had my time over Aedín I’d probably side car the cot from the start.

  3. We, of course, did things back to front: I co-slept for the first few months until they were starting to move a bit themselves, then we put a small bed beside ours, secured to ours (it’s a lovely ancient 100 year old bed, and high enough to be on the same level as ours) it has been brilliant, and our little man regularly climbs in for a nurse at night, and then when I make him too hot, rolls into his own space :-) Great review!
    Emily recently posted..All Kinds Of EverythingMy Profile

  4. Great review. I’m not nervous about bedsharing, having done it the first time around but I am a little confused about what our configuration is going to be with a newborn and potentially a toddler. Talitha doesn’t sleep with us now but I can see her wanting to get back into bed with us when the baby is born.

    • We found that in the morning time, our little boy wanted to get into bed with everyone. It was fine because we weren’t really asleep. So I just kept the baby on one side of me, between me and the cosleeper, and him in the middle between me and my husband.

      After a few weeks the phase passed and he didn’t want to climb in with us anymore. I think it was just reassurance he wanted.

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