Top positive review
533 people found this helpful
I couldn't go without it.
on January 6, 2014
Of all our baby swag, this is hands-down my favorite. Our son slept in a freestanding bassinet for a couple weeks but outgrew it, so we switched over to this. I wish we had started with it! The first section of this review pertains to Arms' Reach Co-Sleepers in general; the second part is specific to this model. The last paragraph shares a couple of tips that have worked really well for me with co-sleeping.
I love the co-sleeper because it allows me to lay down next to baby and watch him fall asleep. I think that being beside him is comforting to him and I know it's comforting to me. :) With the free-standing bassinet, my options were to sit or stand beside him to watch or to let him fall asleep in my arms or on our bed and then try to transfer him. Before he was born, those options both sounded completely reasonable... after he was here, not so much! Momma likes her sleep -- I can't even imagine walking down a hallway to get to him in the middle of the night!
The AAP recommends room-sharing but not bed-sharing because it reduces SIDS rates (unless a parent is a smoker). I've also seen a couple of studies that conclude that, when in the same room, Mom and Baby's sleep cycles sync up so that Baby wakes up when both are in a light phase of sleep. After sleeping with this product, I believe that's true. Even though I'm waking up in the middle of the night, I'm surprisingly easy to rouse. Plus, since Baby is right beside me, I wake up when he starts whimpering rather than when he's full-on crying, which is more pleasant for us both.
Baby is a couple inches lower than the bed, and there's a short railing on the side of the bassinet that adjoins the bed. This is a safety design so Mom can't roll onto Baby and Baby can't roll into Mom's path. I've seen some reviews complaining that Moms expected to just slide Baby over for breastfeeding, and that is not the case. I do have to sit up, reach over, and pick Baby up, then scoot back to the head of the bed to sit and breastfeed. However, my legs never come out from under the covers, so this is way better than standing up or having to walk down the hallway! When we're both laying down, he is truly within "arms' reach"... I can touch him, pick up his pacifier, etc.
As to this model specifically, I chose it because it was the least expensive and I have no regrets. The manufacturers' webpage shows pictures of all the models side-by-side, so it's a good place to get an idea of the differences. This model is attractive, but it prioritizes function over appearance... under that fabric is metal tubing that resembles a hand truck or library cart. However, the fabric softens it up nicely and the bassinet is very stable.
The biggest positives I see for this model over others are price and adjustability. This one can be adjusted in two-inch increments -- it has a system like crutches or school desks where you press a button on the leg and adjust up or down, then the button pops back out at the next setting. I like this because it's hard to gauge what your height preference will be without actually having the bassinet (for the record, I measure my bed at 28 inches but I prefer the lowest height setting, which places the top of the mattress at 19.5 inches from the floor).
The potential negatives for this model are looks, small size, and lack of portability/versatility. I think it's quite attractive, but the other models definitely have more attention to design. With a footprint of 34"x20", it's also the smaller version (depending on your space, that could be positive or negative). The Ideal Co-Sleeper is roughly the same size as a Pack-and-Play at 39"x25". Some of the other models function more like a Pack-and-Play in that they fold up with a carrying case and convert to a play yard, so keep that in mind when you're choosing -- this one converts to a freestanding bassinet but does not fold up or convert to a play yard. Also, the other models require separate risers if you want to increase the height.
**EDIT 2/16/2014: My son is now 3 months old and will outgrow this soon. He's a big guy (tracking more like a six- or seven-month old), but I'm bummed that we won't be able to keep using this as long as I'd expected. If you have any height in your family tree, you might want to consider one of the larger models.
**EDIT 4/12/2014: We're closing in on five months, and my little guy, tracking at the 85th percentile for height, is still comfortable in this! I'm pleasantly surprised. He is quite cozy, but it looks like he'll outgrow it around the same time he starts pulling up. I couldn't be happier with this co-sleeper.
**FINAL EDIT 5/19/2014: My baby finally outgrew this at 5.5 months... he actually still fit, but started moving around too much in his sleep. I'm glad we went with the smaller size as the larger size would have been a tight fit in our bedroom. This was a great, great purchase.
Finally, a couple tips that made my co-sleeping experience even better. :) First, some other reviewers (on other models) mention having to get rid of bedside tables. I did not get rid of mine, but I did rotate it 90 degrees so that the drawers open away from the bed. I put the co-sleeper beside/below the nightstand and can still easily see and reach Baby. However, I don't have room for a lamp there, so I set up a lamp a few feet away with a remote control outlet (search Amazon for examples). That enables me to wake up with Baby, turn on a light, pick him up, and feed him... all without getting out of bed. Amazing!