By Megan Leary
I started a hunt for the perfect co-sleeper in the latter days of my second pregnancy. As a semi-co-sleeping family I wanted something that would house my little guy safely in his own area but be attached directly to our bed. I wanted to reach out and touch him, pull him near to nurse, then push him back so I could get comfy rest.
Hey guess what doesn't exist in America? My perfect co-sleeper. They have some in Itay. Here is one in the UK. Look at this awesome one in Germany. But if you want something stateside your choices are very limited.
Our options were to make our own, sidecar a crib, or find something to buy that is similar. Preferring the latter, the closest thing we found without paying international shipping is the Arm's Reach co-sleeper. However, the bed for the baby is dipped down, lower than the mattress. A mama would have to sit up and lean over to grab her newborn. That may not sound like a big deal but for a sleep deprived mom I assure you it is! It is also not compatible with the Angelcare monitor (that I did not spend 200 bucks to not use). So we resolved to get the mini co-sleeper from a Craigslist ad and then modify it to fit our needs.
For 50 bucks I found a gently used co-sleeper, but however gently, it was used. So I got a bucket of warm suds of laundry detergent and a new scrub brush. Then I took the co-sleeper outside and went to town. I used my garden hose to spray-rinse and then let it dry in the hot summer sun.
Then we flushed it with our mattress. And here is how its done…
3 foam pads (2x22x22 in) from JoAnn Fabrics
Plywood measuring 30x17 inches
Cut the foam pads into three pieces measuring 22 x 16.5 inches and three pieces measuring 5.25 x 16.5 inches
First, Second, and Third layers of your foam pieces
Add the plywood on top of the foam. This is essential for the Angel Care monitor to work, but it also adds a needed half inch of height to the bed. Then add your Angelcare monitor sensory pad (if you have one).
Lastly, the Arm's Reach co-sleeper mattress goes on top
Perfectly flushed with the mattress!
And viola! My perfect co-sleeper. And my perfect little man.
I recognize that I'll be taking layers of the foam out as he gets bigger and he will start dipping down the side of the bed. By that point I'm hoping he doesn't nurse as often and he'll have some more meat on him so I won't feel like I have to gingerly retrieve him. Other than that it is everything I thought it would be and I am sleeping more as a result. I love it.
Where does your baby sleep?
About Megan Leary
I am a work-at-home mama of one darling girl and a handsome baby boy. I am an advocate of natural and home birthing. I am passionate about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, eating well, and most things natural in a mama's life. Visit me and my friends at our blog www.hippieswithbabies.com.