Any parent expecting a child (pregnancy, surrogacy, adoption, etc) has to plan ahead for sleeping arrangements. You have to ask yourself questions such as "what will be the easiest option" and "what will be safest for my baby?" There are so many options out there, and each parent has to decide what is right for them and for their child.
With Miss A, we did not know about all of the options out there. We had a traditional bassinet in the corner of our room. Miss A had trouble falling asleep on her own and either my husband or I would end up sitting on the floor next to her bassinet popping her binky back in her mouth and turning her glow worm on repeatedly until she FINALLY fell asleep. Many months later, after she was happily sleeping in her crib, I discovered the existence of Co-Sleepers and thought to myself "I WILL have one of those for baby number two!!!"
After I got pregnant with Baby J, I showed my husband a picture of a Co-Sleeper and he fully agreed that we should have had one with Miss A and we should get one for the next baby. On a whim, I contacted Arm's Reach about a possible review, but never did I dream that they would be willing to do a review and giveaway too! So please join me in thanking them for their incredible generosity.
Arm's Reach sent me the Co-Sleeper Mini in Toffee Dot as well as a pack of Leg Extensions (to raise the Co-Sleeper to the height of our bed) and a Nature Perfect Organic Sheet in natural so that I could review both the included sheet and the organic (it is also wonderful to have two sheets for when one is in the wash!).
Out of the box, I was absolutely in love with the color/print! The toffee color is a wonderful tan/chocolate milk color that is neutral enough for any decor but also enough color to be really quite nice! And the cream colored polka dots are large enough to give some fun and cuteness to the Co-Sleeper but small enough not to be overwhelming! The dots are just plain cute! But again, they are not overdone and keep the piece neutral for any space! I wasn't sure if I would like the dots, but as soon as I pulled the Co-Sleeper out of the box, I was in love with the cute but neutral print!! The fabric of the overall Co-Sleeper is a brushed cotton blend twill that is very soft, stain repellent, easy to clean, and seems to be very durable and long lasting! I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled by the quality of the fabric on the Co-Sleeper!
Setup of the Co-Sleeper was EXTREMELY easy! For anyone who has ever set up a pack n play, it is basically the same! You just simply click and lock all of the side rails and push and lock the bottom of the bassinet, then place the mattress in, put the sheet on, and you are set! It really is quite easy! The first time I tried to lock all of the rails, they were a little hard to get locked (probably stiff from being in the box for a while) but after I took it down a couple times (to see if they would ease up) they now lock and unlock quite easily for ease of setup and take down!
Likewise, to convert from a drop side Co-Sleeper to a free standing bassinet is quite simple! (this model does not convert into a play yard) On the side that touches the bed, you need to unlock both the bottom and upper bars. Then there are three straps with clips around the upper bar. Simply unsnap the three clips, unlock the two side connectors, slide them up and off of the bottom connectors and lock them onto the upper connectors, and then lock both the upper and lower bars. Sounds complicated, but it really isn't! This is great for travel or if you need to move the bassinet away from your bed for some reason! You can still use the Co-Sleeper as a bassinet but have that bar raised for safety!
Underneath the bassinet, in the bottom of the Co-Sleeper, there is a zipper compartment for storage. You can put your spare sheets, clothes, diapers, whatever you need to have handy can be stored down there. There are also pockets on the sides of the Co-Sleeper for storage.
I have always wondered how Co-Sleepers attached to the bed. I thought it was some complicated system and would be a pain to setup. Wow, was I wrong! I love when things are just plain and simple and work better than some complicated system would!! To attach the Co-Sleeper to your bed, there is a plate with straps attached that you run under your mattress. So the square plate is on the opposite side of the bed from the Co-Sleeper hugging the mattress, the straps run under the mattress, and clip to the Co-Sleeper holding it tightly against the bed! Easy! I simply ran the straps across the foot of my bed and the with two tugs on each side, I was able to get the straps up and in place. No lifting of the mattress! I did it myself!! We have a king size bed and you can see from the photos how much excess strap I have left, so no worries about it fitting your bed! The only problem that I had, was that there are loops on either side of the Co-Sleeper that you are to run the straps through. Because I had to use the leg extensions to raise my Co-Sleeper, the straps ran under where the loops were. If I had put the straps through the loops, they would have just ripped off. So I did not run the straps through the loops. The Co-Sleeper is still extremely tight against the bed and cannot be tipped over or moved.
The Leg Extensions are also quite easy to assemble! They simply click together and click onto the bottom of the Co-Sleeper! Our mattress is brand new and quite high with a pillow top on it. It tops out at approximately 26 inches and we needed two sets of extensions on each of the legs! I was concerned about the stability of my Co-Sleeper on "stilts" but it does not take away from the stability of the piece at all! And having those two extra extensions on each of the legs puts the Co-Sleeper at the exact right height on our bed! If you have a higher bed, I highly recommend (URGE!!) you to spend the extra money on the extensions so that your Co-Sleeper is at the same height as your bed making it so much nicer for you and baby and safer for both of you as well!
The matching included sheet is made of a soft 100% Polyester. To the touch it almost feels like suede which is very nice, soft and comfy, for baby! I was hesitant about this sheet because I felt that it would stain easily...NOPE! Arm's Reach knows what they are doing! I can safely tell you that ALL bodily fluids came out of this sheet with no problem! My son threw up, peed, pooped...the whole kit an caboodle!! And they all came out with no problem!!! Even EBF poop! This sheet also has the velcro strips on the bottom to match the velcro strips in the bassinet. The sheet is fitted, but having these velcro strips attached means no movement of the mattress and you can get the sheet on 100% flat and tight making it as safe as possible for baby! I have washed this sheet many times over the past 5 weeks and it shows no wear or tear!
The Nature Perfect Organic sheet that Arm's Reach sent me additionally is made of 60% Organic Cotton and 40% Rayon. To the touch it feels like a thick jersey fabric and is extremely soft and comfy for baby! It also has the velcro strips on the bottom to match the velcro in the bassinet just like the other sheet. I love that it is a nice organic cotton and I love how soft the fabric is, but it is a little more prone to staining. My son also threw up, peed and pooped on this sheet and I have to tell you that everything washed out, but the EBF poop was a little harder to get completely off of this sheet. Part of that is the organic cotton and part of that is the fact that the sheet is a natural off white color. EBF poop and white don't mix! But after 2-3 washes, the stain did come completely out! The sheet is wonderful, definitely worth the extra money to have the soft organic cotton and a spare sheet for your Co-Sleeper! I just wish I had a darker color!
Best of all, all of the Arm's Reach Co-Sleepers meet all ASTM, CPSC, and JPMA safety standards. These are the three top safety standards and is a HUGE testament to the Arm's Reach products! Additionally, sleep research expert Dr James McKenna PhD and pediatrician Dr.William Sears recommend co-sleeping to promote bonding and help both parents and children to sleep better; both endorse Arm's Reach products.
Personally, I love using this Co-Sleeper. I love having baby right next to me. I love being able to just reach over and sooth him or put his binky back in. I love that I don't have to get out of bed; possibly waking my husband, or waking the baby or myself any more than I need to. I love that when he is ready to eat, he is right there. I love that it promotes bonding and makes breastfeeding that much easier! I love that it is not just for breastfeeding mothers, it is perfect for any parent with any feeding choice! I just love everything about having a Co-Sleeper! I really think this is a must for any parent! It is such a relief to have baby right next to you where you can see and hear him/her and can easily care for him/her without having to get out of bed! This is also perfect for mom's who are recovering from a C-Section; they can have baby right next to them and don't have to get up to get baby.
My only complaint is that it does make getting in and out of bed a little harder. I cannot live without my nightstand, I need my phone, drink, etc. So I actually moved my nightstand out and put a smaller table up at the head of the bed, this causes the Co-Sleeper to be about 10 inches further down the bed than it needs to be. But even if the Co-Sleeper was as far up the bed as it could go, it would still be a challenge to get in and out. But definitely worth it to have baby right there! However, for recovering C-Sections, you may need extra help or may want to use as a free standing bassinet for a while.
This Co-Sleeper comes with the Co-Sleeper, mattress, sheet, and travel bag. Retail price for this item $160.
Leg Extesions. Retail $22.
Nature Perfect Organic Sheet. Retail $25.
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