We’re living in an age of so many baby gadgets to add to your registry but also a push of minimalism, getting only what you “need.” We had two babies without the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper, using it only for our third child. In spite of getting 1/3 the use, it was worth every single penny we paid. As a C-section mommy it was my absolute favorite gadget to have. Hubby lovingly referred to it as “Mommy Central.”
Our first round of baby nesting did not prepare the home for me post C-Section. We used the pack 'n play and it served us well enough, especially since it came with little bassinet options. Both of our sons transitioned to the large crib in our room rather early though. A crib was higher than the pack n play, easier for me as I healed. Our room was quite cramped and we moved baby out of our room earlier than I wanted (at 3 months). With our first two children we didn’t have a co-sleep option that I was comfortable with.
Enter the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper. We decided to invest for a number of reasons:
Made for co-sleeping—In a world with conflicting views on the safety of co-sleeping, I love how the side lowers for a co-sleeping experience while the baby still had her very own space. I could rest my hand near her, have her within inches yet also not worry about her rolling in toward me or covers being in her way and so forth. The sides are made of breathable mesh. The crib comes with a strap and plate that secures the crib to the bed. I personally did not use these as the co-sleeper was secure between our heavy mattress and two walls, and I often moved the co-sleeper into the living room. This co-sleeper can go down to 24” and you can also purchase risers to lift it up much higher if your bed requires that.
Safe standing alone—You can easily raise and lower one side of the co-sleeper so it can also stand alone away from the bed. Many other options are either stand alone OR co-sleepers, but the Arm’s Reach is both!
Side lowering benefits for C-Section mamas—I think technically the warning labels discourage you from leaving the side down unless the co-sleeper is attached to the bed. I often left the side down in that first month while I spent most of my time on the couch. It made it so much easier to not need to lift baby an extra six inches repeatedly. With the lower side I could even just move forward on the couch instead of getting up and down, up and down every time I needed to nurse baby. This helped facilitate healing as I could get up as I was comfortable with doing so rather than because it was absolutely necessary. I felt safe leaving the side down when the crib was beside our couch and walls, but again this is not necessarily the suggested use of the product.
Portable—It was smaller than a pack n play and came with a travel bag. Additionally, the mini comes with two wheels (not all models do), so I could easily roll it from bedside to couchside as needed. Even when we stayed out of town in very tight quarters the co-sleeper mini was the perfect size (pictured)!
Size—Both the mini and the Ideal sizes are smaller than a typical pack n play or crib, opening space in your room. There are several options, the standard (39 x 25 x 32.5) Arm’s Reach Ideal (MSRP $230) is about five by five inches larger than the mini we had (34 x 20 x 31). If price point is an issue, the mini (MSRP $159-$199 depending on model) is awesome and can save you some money but has comparative drawbacks. I would have preferred the Ideal because it would have lasted our baby longer than the four months she fit in the mini. At four months we transitioned her to a pack n play in our room, ending our co-sleeping. The Ideal also can be used as a playard. The mattress level of the mini can not be removed, so it can not be used as a playard or used once baby can sit up.
Extra storage—We kept baby gear from diapers to clothes and toys below in the storage area until we needed them a few months later. There are also side pockets where I stored wipes, diapers, and burp cloths. Seriously, Mommy Central!
Lynette is a mom of three children from one year to age five. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.