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To co-sleep, or not to co-sleep, is a decision that each family should look at. As with almost any parenting issue, there are rather lively debates in forums and chat rooms about the pros and cons on both sides of the issue. Personally, we believe that the security and peace of mind for both us and our babies was worth a little less sleep during the first few months.
There are several different products out there to protect baby when sleeping in the bed with Mom and Dad. We highly recommend that if you choose to sleep with baby in the bed, you invest in a baby bumper bed. The one that we purchased, and recommend without hesitation, is the Wee Sleep Bumper Bed by Leachco. The material and padding held up well after many washings and it folds up and transports easily for naps and as an all-purpose changing table. Our boys shared their bumper bed for the first six weeks – in the bassinet, in the Pak ‘n Play, and in our bed. The Wee Sleep Bumper Bed can be found at many on-line retailers, including Baby Bungalow, Baby Universe, and Wal-Mart, or you can call Leachco at 800-525-1050 to find a retail store near you.
There are also on going discussions amongst new moms regarding the pros and cons of Pak ‘n Plays versus Co-Sleepers. Pak ‘n Plays tend to be lighter, less expensive, and are easier to assemble. Many models come with bassinets, changing tables, and toy bars. Co-Sleepers have most of the same features as Pak ‘n Plays, but have the additional bonuses such as the ability to be attached to Mom and Dad’s bed, have one side that can be lower than the other for ease of reaching baby, and you can purchase leg extensions which allow you to adjust the co-sleeper to the height of your mattress.
We purchased our Pak ‘n Play when the guys outgrew their bassinet at a month old. We upgraded to the co-sleeper within a month. Having purchased both, we highly recommend purchasing a co-sleeper – especially for families with twins. The pad the babies sleep on is much sturdier than those that you find in the Pak ‘n Plays. The co-sleeper also fully supports the entire length and width of the bassinet pad by a “basket” type feature that the pad sets into. The Pak ‘n Plays that we have seen simply support the bassinet by the edges, which allowed too much sloping towards the middle of the bassinet for our boys to use very long. There are twin moms that suggest putting a piece of cardboard under the Pak ‘n Play’s pad to give the pad extra support. This simply did not work for us. In the end, I really wish we had just gone with the co-sleeper in the first place, instead of buying the Pak ‘n Play. The co-sleepers tend to have a heavier weight limit in the bassinet than the Pak ‘n Plays – an absolute essential when your twins gain weight as fast as ours did! While the co-sleeper was twice as expensive as the Pak ‘n Play we purchased, we were able to use our co-sleeper much longer than we were the Pak ‘n Play because of the firmness of the mattress, the combined weight of our guys, and the way the co-sleeper was built. The playpen areas of both the original co-sleeper and the Pak ‘n Plays are roughly the same size. We never used this feature, but again, the bottom of the co-sleeper play area seems to be stronger than those of the Pak ‘n Plays I’ve seen.
You can see the info about the original arms reach co-sleeper at http://www.armsreach.com. Information on the site includes retail locations for the co-sleeper nationwide.