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When it comes to preparing for a new baby, there are countless decisions to make. From choosing the right diapers to selecting the perfect furniture, new parents want to ensure they are doing everything right. However, not everyone has the budget of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, so finding the best value for their money is essential.
One decision many parents consider is whether to use a co-sleeper bassinet. While this can feel like a daunting choice, it’s important to remember that your baby won’t sleep in it forever. To help you make the best decision for your family, we’ve put together a list of nine things to consider when buying a co-sleeper bed.
What Is the Difference Between a Co-sleeper and a Regular Bassinet?
First, it’s important to understand the difference between a co-sleeper bassinet and a regular bassinet. A co-sleeper attaches to the side of the bed, allowing your baby to sleep safely alongside you. It may have four complete sides, or one side may be cut out to attach to the bed, giving you easy access to your baby.
What Are the Benefits of a Co-Sleeper Crib?
There are many benefits that parents feel comes with a co-sleeper bassinet. The most significant advantage is probably that it is safer than sleeping with the baby in the bed.
Co-sleeping is a bit controversial as some people do not want to co-sleep and feel the baby should sleep in his or her own space from the while others wish to foster a closer bond. Whatever your feelings are on the subject, you should be comfortable in your decisions.
Many parents feel that co-sleeping allows them to get better rest at night, knowing that they can quickly assist their baby in the middle of the night. Sleeping with the baby in the bed has been cited as a SIDS risk. Parents can roll onto the baby, causing him or her to suffocate, and parents’ bedding is often too plush for the baby.
A co-sleeper bedside crib allows the baby to sleep in a safe environment while allowing the parents to feel closer and more readily available to assist should the baby need something during the night.
Are Co-Sleeper Beds Worth It?
While the value of a co-sleeper bed will vary from family to family, many parents find it provides peace of mind and ease of access during those early weeks at home. This allows mom time to get back to sleep more quickly after 3 am feedings.
However, it’s important to remember that a co-sleeper should only be used while your baby is small and stationary, as it can become dangerous once they start moving around.
Is A Co-Sleeper Bassinet Safe?
A co-sleeper bassinet is much safer than sleeping with the baby in the bed. There are some things to consider with safety when purchasing a co-sleeper, but those will be discussed shortly. If you choose a quality co-sleeper bed, your baby will be safe and secure.
What Are the Cons of a Co-Sleeper Crib?
A co-sleeper does mean that the baby is very close to the bed. If you need to get up in the middle of the night, it can be more challenging to maneuver around the co-sleeper crib. Many people feel that it does not promote independent sleeping by the baby. However, parents have been co-sleeping since the beginning of time, and evidence is conflicting as to whether or not it actually causes long term complications. This is a much safer method than putting the baby directly into bed with you.
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9 Things to Know When Choosing the Best Co-Sleeper Crib
Choosing a co-sleeper bassinet is like choosing other baby gear. Each parent must select the one that is best for them. Examine anything that you choose for your baby in person, if possible. We have nine things that you should think about when you make that decision.
There are a few safety features you will want to make sure are available when choosing a co-sleeper bed. First, you want to make sure that the sides are ventilated in some way. A wooden co-sleeper may have sides like a crib. You will want to make sure that those sides adhere to the same safety standards that all cribs do. Others come with mesh sides like a portable play yard. In this case, you will want to make sure that the mesh is in good condition and does not get any rips or tears. Also, make sure that it is not easy for your baby to roll and slip between the co-sleeper crib and mattresses. Most co-sleeper bed injuries occurred from this type of accident. Mattresses also need to be firm and secure in the bedside bassinet. Bassinet mattresses are not standard sizes, so you will want to purchase the appropriate mattress for your equipment and ensure the sheets you choose fit properly. Loose or ill-fitting sheets can be a safety hazard.
If your bassinet is inconvenient, you will not find it valuable. Make sure that it is easy to reach the baby when you need to do so but quickly moved when you need to get out of bed. If you feel that it is cumbersome, in the way, or otherwise inconvenient, you will be less likely to use it. You may also want to make sure that it is portable. You may want to be able to take it with you if you go on vacation, visit relatives, or simply move it to the other side of the bed for a night. If it is difficult to move, pack, or adjust, you will likely become unhappy very quickly.
Co-sleeper cribs have many styles of bases, but they need to feel sturdy. If you think it is going to tip over whenever the baby is on one side or the other or if you scoot it a few inches, you will be less likely to feel safe using it. If it does tip easily, this is a significant safety concern. Whenever possible, view these in the store first to see how much they wobble or feel unsteady.
4. Proper Height
Make sure that your co-sleeper will adjust to the correct height for your bed. It seems that every bed you buy is a different height. Some frames sit higher or lower, and mattresses come in different thicknesses as well. Make sure that whatever you choose, the height of the co-sleeper is comfortable for accessing your baby. This also means that you will want to be able to easily see your baby from the open side.
5. Cost/ Value
The cost/ value debate for all baby gear is personal, but you must consider the price versus your budget. This is a short-term piece of equipment. While a crib is also temporary, some cribs convert to toddler beds and even twin- or full-size beds. A co-sleeper does not have that versatility. You will want to purchase a quality bedside bassinet, but it is not necessary to spend hundreds of dollars. Most co-sleeper cribs are less than $200 at major US retailers.
6. Comfort features
Probably the most crucial comfort feature is the bassinet rocks or allows you to gently soothe your baby back to sleep if he or she wakes momentarily. You also want to make sure that the bassinet is not too small or cramped inside. You will not need extra bedding, as babies do not need blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals in their sleeping space.
Much like stability, you will want to make sure that the co-sleeper is durable. You do not want sides that easily tear, screws that come loose or paint that chips. A flimsy, poorly manufactured co-sleeper will pose safety concerns and risks.
8. Easy Maintenance
Let’s face it, babies seem to leak from everywhere. Spitting up and diaper mishaps happen, sometimes in the middle of the night. You will want to make sure that you can get an adequate number of sheets and that a leak here or there does not ruin the sleeper for the night. If the mattress material holds in moisture, you cannot just change the sheet. Most manufacturers know this, but you need to make sure that you are choosing quality materials. You also want to make sure that if you need or want additional sheets, they are easily purchased. Screws or fasteners may occasionally need to be tightened, so they should be easy enough to access without having to contort into uncomfortable positions.
9. Easy to clean
Like easy maintenance, you will want to make sure that your co-sleeper is easy for you to clean. As we said, mishaps happen. Cloth sides should be easily wiped down and cleaned. Wooden sides should be finished so that you can easily wipe them down as well. Fancy exteriors with crevices and folds will likely just frustrate you if your baby has an upset stomach one night. Unfortunately, babies of all ages may experience projectile vomiting. You want to make sure that it can be cleaned up easily.
Ultimately, the decision to use a co-sleeper is a personal one. We hope this information helps you make the best choice for your family. If you have any experience with co-sleepers, let us know your thoughts!
Kelly is a mom of 3 and has a degree in Psychology. She has been a parenting content writer for years. When she’s not managing projects at Lullabybot, she loves to get outdoors with her kids and her dog Bandit, and baking desserts on weekends.