The Ideal Co-Sleeper by Arm’s Reach has been such a great addition to our family’s sleeping needs. Our baby girl was almost 2 months old when it arrived, and we’d been using a different bedside sleeping option that had multiple features, including a play yard and a small bassinet that could be converted to a changing station. By this time in her development though, she was getting to be too long for the bassinet she was sleeping in, so the Ideal came just in the nick of time! The whole system provides a co-sleeping device, a bassinet and a play yard all in one—everything we need for this stage in her life and beyond.
One of the first things we noticed about the Ideal is the quality of the parts. When we took it out of the box we saw that the pieces were really sturdy and well made. The quilted fabric that wraps around the whole bassinet is super soft, too. Similar sleeping systems do not have this kind of fabric covering the hard plastic parts, so this was definitely a bonus for us. Now we don’t have to worry about hitting our hands on the hard plastic in the middle of the night when we lean over to grab our daughter. No more bruises for mom and dad!
One of the best features though, and my husband’s favorite part, is the addition of pockets on both sides. They span almost the width of the co-sleeper and are made of a mesh material. It is so handy having them there because now, instead of burp cloths and toys lying all over our bedroom floor, we can keep them tucked away in the pockets.
My husband and I mainly use our Ideal as a co-sleeping device right now. We love how the rail closest to the bed lowers to the level of our bed, giving us easier access to our baby. It is so simple to just reach right over and grab her when she gets hungry or fussy! We never have to get out of bed or even worry about dropping her in the space between our bed and hers because, with the Ideal, our beds are connected. The co-sleeper has a strap and plate system that slides between our mattress and the box spring, tightly securing our beds together and increasing the safety of the device. Our bed is the perfect height for compatibility with the co-sleeper function, but if your bed sits slightly higher you can purchase leg extensions on their website. (They are available in sets of four for $24.)
Our baby sleeps so well in the Ideal! She is a little older than 2 months now and has started to sleep 4-5 hours at night—making our nights so much more enjoyable! She spends each night in it and naps in it during the day, too. And, she will be able to sleep in it until she is about 5 months old (or until she can get up on her hands and knees). Once she gets to be that old or big, it starts to be unsafe, so she’ll move to her crib. The good news is that we are going to be able to get a few more months out of it! Once she transitions to her crib, we will keep the Ideal downstairs in our family room and be able to use it as a play yard for her. That is, until baby No. 2 comes along, and we move it back upstairs to our room!
General maintenance is simple. The sheet and fabric liner are both machine washable. The sheet can be dried but it is recommended that the liner be air-dried. The Ideal comes with one sheet included in the box, but having two or more sheets would be handy for when your baby has an accident. Each extra sheet costs $23, or you can buy a plush sheet for $29. (Both of these are available at armsreach.com.)
Traveling with the Ideal is easy, too! It breaks down simply into several parts and comes with a very handy carrying case that easily fits in the trunk or back seat of our car. If you need to store the Ideal, it would easily fit into a closet or under a bed. One thing that could make transportation a tiny bit easier would be to add wheels to the legs—or have a feature that allows wheels to be attached when needed. It has very sturdy legs, and it is easy to understand why wheels would be a safety hazard considering the dropped-rail setting—but attempting to move it once assembled can be a little challenging.
Setting up the Ideal took about an hour during naptime, not including the time it took to wash and dry the fitted sheet and liner. Having never assembled a play yard or co-sleeping device before, it was a little difficult for me—so my mom ended up helping me towards the end. (I blame my “new mom brain!”) There are quite a few little straps that need to be in specific places. I think it would be easier if photographs were inserted into the instruction manual instead of drawings, but otherwise the manual works just fine. Assembly was not too bad once we figured out the pictures!
All in all, the Ideal has been a great addition for our daughter’s sleeping needs. Although it is a bit more expensive than other co-sleeping devices I’ve seen, the overall quality and functionality are greater than other brands. You can get it in five different colors and can use it for years with each child, making it a solid investment. The peace of mind you gain by having your baby within arm’s reach from you at all times, but still having her own safe space, is priceless (and is my favorite part of having the Ideal). I am so thankful that my daughter and I will be able to continue to bond for months to come using it—and that her future younger brothers or sisters will have the chance to use it, too!
Price: from $240
To buy: amazon.com