Thursday, August 29, 2013

Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper Review

A view from above the co-sleeper
I've decided it's once again time for another product review.  I know you all have been waiting with baited breath for this moment, and I so do not want you all to suffer anymore.  But seriously, I figured it's about high time I brag about the co-sleeper Piper's been snoozing in since almost day one.  I honestly have to say, of all the baby products I registered for or purchased myself, this is by far the best baby related item I own.

Watching nursery rhymes on my laptop from the co-sleeper!
I know a lot of people do not believe in co-sleeping with their babies, and that's all fine and dandy.  We all have our own styles and parent in ways which work best for ourselves and fit best withing our own individual household situations.  As a single mom who doesn't have any relationship prospects on the table, co-sleeping with Piper is not an inconvenience when it comes to needed bedroom privacy and space.  For us, co-sleeping is a natural extension of our extremely close bond with one another.  I find it to be a very symbiotic nighttime existence in many ways.

Co-sleeping at 11 weeks
I love having Piper right by my side at night.  Since I breastfeed, co-sleeping allows me to simply pull her over to my bed whenever she needs to nurse.  Wait, I need to back up a step and explain what our version of co-sleeping means.

By co-sleeping, I mean she sleeps in a co-sleeper crib which is a small type of crib which attaches directly to my bed via long straps.  These straps are attached to the sleeper and run under my mattress and out the other side where they are held in place by a round disc, which keeps them in place and not sliding around or creeping back underneath the mattress.  Some people use the term co-sleep to mean they are actually sharing a bed.  While we do oftentimes nap together in bed, when it comes to nighttime sleeping, Piper is always in the co-sleeper crib.  I feel much safer with her in her own space for the time being.  I tend to be a wiggle worm in my sleep, a habit which Piper has inherited, so for both her safety and my ability to actually relax enough to sleep, I always make sure that if we're going down for a long slumber, she is separated enough from me that I won't crush her or she keep me awake by wiggling about in her sleep...which she does, a lot!  Now back to where I was...

She sleeps so soundly in the sleeper
The co-sleeper is very convenient for the nursing mom.  While I didn't need it that much for late night feedings, since Piper has been sleeping through the night since she was just three weeks old, I do enjoy not having to get up and out of bed for her first early morning feeding, usually at 7am.  I am not a morning person, so anything to make waking up early easier is a blessing!  Besides being nursing friendly, there is something so soothing about having Piper lying next to me all night.  I can hear her breathe, smell her baby smells, I am alerted with ease whenever she needs something, whether it be she is restless and needs a back rub to calm back down or wakes frightened and needs to be soothed.  With her being right beside me, there are never any false alarms with me jumping up and running to the nursery to check on every single movement and sound she makes.  I am not as high-strung and worried about all that could go wrong now that I've been doing this mothering thing for awhile, but when she was just a newborn I was admittedly like all other first-time moms in regards to worrying.  The co-sleeper helped ease those worries, which in turn provided us both with much needed extra sleep every night as we adjusted to our new lives together.

A month old and snoring away!

The best thing about the co-sleeper, by far and above all else mentioned, it allows me to fall asleep holding my little girl's hand every night, or sometimes I like to simply lay my hand across her back.  I like that human contact between us, it's nourishing and bonds us closer than I ever expected.  I have a feeling, if studied, one would find that this connection causes us to develop the same breathing patterns and heart rates.  In a way, it's like we mesh into one being while sleeping.  I know to some this may seem like a bizarre statement, but to me it seems so perfectly natural to have that connection with my child.  I wouldn't want it any other way.  I imagine when she gets older that we will maintain that connection, and she may end up snoozing with me in my actual bed sometimes.  I do not plan to have her always sleeping in my room, she has a fabulous nursery and a very expensive special order crib that she will be using when she gets older.  She uses it now for naps and such.  But I also do not plan to one day just up and kick her out of my bedroom once she outgrows the sleeper.  Some parents are probably, at this point, rolling their eyes and thinking I have created a permanent bed leech.  I think not, however, as Piper has no problem sleeping away from me when she has to.  If anything, I think I may have the harder time letting her sleep in her own room rather than the other way around.  I think I have the attachment issues, lol.

It's nice to roll over and see this face!
Okay, enough about why I love the co-sleeper from the usefulness factor.  Now let's move onto the technical aspects of the particular sleeper I am using.

I chose the Arm's Reach Clearvue Co-Sleeper in Cocoa and Fern for it's aesthetic value.  While there are other co-sleepers out there which have some more useful features, such as larger storage areas or that turn into a mini play yard, I liked the color scheme on this particular model.

Here is the basic view of the co-sleeper

I also chose this model because I really like the fact it has viewable sides and a nice set of wheels.  The sides fold down so that when next to your bed there isn't a wall up blocking you from immediately getting to your wee one, or you can leave them up and use the sleeper as a free-standing bassinet.  This was another important feature to me.  And in regards to those wheels and the free-standing mode, at one point I thought I might use it outdoors on our deck, so Piper could nap while we hung out, but since she doesn't hardly ever nap, I've never really used it in this manner...although I could have.  The wheels make it very portable, so it would have been easy to maneuver into other areas, such as the outdoor deck.

Close-up of the folding side.
This model also comes with some very convenient storage features.  It has mesh pockets on either side up top, and underneath there is large storage bin.  I used the upper pockets to hold diapers and wipes for nighttime diaper changes.  I never used the underneath storage area as it was not all the easy to get to while lying in bed.  Had I needed the extra room for blankets and such, it would have been a great feature.  I just really had no need for it, which is good because my jealous cat ended up peeing in it a few months after Piper's arrival and I ended up throwing it away.  Yes, you can use the crib minus the under storage area, which is nice if you happen to have ornery cats or damage it in some way.

A view of the under storage.
Another plus regarding this sleeper is that it comes with a mattress and sheet.  I looked at several models and some you have to purchase the mattress and/or sheets separately.  The sheet is awesome in that it velcros to the underside of the mattress, which is a huge plus when you have a wiggle babe like I do.  If you need, you can purchase additional sheets and/or mattress.  I have only the one sheet and have never needed to purchase an additional one.  Probably helps that I have an uber soft terry cloth sheet saver in mine that I can remove and wash easily.  I use the savers in both Piper's regular crib and in the sleeper, I also recommend them as they are so comfy for Piper to rest her little head, much softer than the plain sheet.

Okay, now for the measurements and stuff:

The co-sleeper measures 34" x 20" x 31".  It's relatively small and doesn't take up a pile of space in my room.  I have a standard height bed with a pillow top mattress, and the height is perfect where my bed and the co-sleeper meet.  The legs on the sleeper have extensions, so you can adjust the height if you happen to have a taller bed.  The legs adjust from 24" to 30" at 2" increments. They say the sleeper should only be used for an infant up to five months old or when they start to push up on their hands and knees.  Piper has been pushing up for quite some time now, and she is now only 4 1/2 months old.  I have yet to have any issues with her safety of going over the edge or anything, as the sides are still high enough to keep her in.  I'm hoping to get to use this sleeper for at least another month.  It's going to kill me to have to move her to her nursery at night, I don't think I'm ready for such a change as of yet.  And I'm not ready for her to sleep in my bed, either.  I'm so going to have to come up with a plan soon!

See how well it fits with my bed!
Well, that about covers everything that I think is important about this co-sleeper.  I absolutely love it and am so glad I chose this sleeping arrangement with Piper.  I know for non-single parents this might not be the best idea, but if you are going to have your little one sleeping in your room for any length of time, definitely look into getting a co-sleeper regardless of which model you choose.  Fair warning, though, once you get used to having your wee one at your side, you may never want to be separated again!

Who could resist waking up to this every morning?

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