With less than two weeks to go before Baby #3 is due to arrive, we are busy getting everything ready. I can’t believe a little baby will be sleeping in our home so soon! When we brought Evie and Mack home from the hospital, they both slept next to me in the bassinet attachment of our Graco Pack & Play. When we bought it, it seemed like a very logical purchase because we wouldn’t need a separate bassinet. I thought I would use it for all my babies.
However, last summer the unthinkable happened. My close friend’s three month old daughter died after the bassinet attachment of her Pack & Play came unhinged. It was a horrible, tragic accident that happened to one of the loveliest, most beautiful families we know. My heart still aches for the family. We all miss their precious little girl and her gentle smile.
Shortly after her death I threw our bassinet attachment into the dumpster – I was so angry at the stupid thing. It was painfully clear to me that using the bassinet attachment is NOT worth the risk. I was barely two months pregnant when I tossed it, and right then I decided to look for a safe sleeping arrangement for little #3.
While doing some research I learned a lot about the pros and cons of co-sleeping. I know the issue of co-sleeping is a contentious one. Parents who practice it firmly believe that it is safe and healthy way to develop a close bond between mother and child. Parents who choose to keep their babies in a crib do so for a variety of reasons, including concerns about the safety of co-sleeping. I am not here to judge either decision; I know enough about parenting to know that every parent is different.
Mack co-slept with me, and I enjoyed that special time with him. He could be a bit fussy, and the extra warmth and snuggles he found in our bed kept him content for longer than if he was sleeping on his own. Plus, it made nighttime breastfeeding about a million times easier. But, my friend’s tragedy taught me that accidents can happen despite the best intentions. For Baby #3, I wanted to find a happy middle.
I found some research by Professor James McKenna from the University of Notre Dame’s Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory. While he supports co-sleeping in a controlled, safe and aware environment, he also acknowledges that accidents can happen if parents are not careful. He advocates using a co-sleeper bassinet next to the bed to simulate the co-sleeping experience, and the brand he strongly recommends is ArmsReach. I trust the research and analysis of Prof McKenna and his team, so I decided to bring an Arms Reach Co-Sleeper Bassinet into our room because it attaches to our bed but provides a separate sleep space for the little one.
One side of the ArmsReach Co-Sleeper comes down and the bassinet attaches firmly to our bed with a tight cord, preventing gaps or movement of the bassinet away from the bed. More than a million of these bassinets have been sold over the last fifteen years without one infant dying or being injured.
Chris and Mack assembled the Arms Reach Sleigh Bed this morning while I was gone. Chris said it was super easy to set up, and based on the pictures Mack had a great time helping prepare for the new baby. I’m glad the two of them had that special time together, and when I came home Mack proudly showed me the bed he put together for his new little sibling.
*Read about how to safely put your baby to sleep here http://www.cpsc.gov/info/cribs/index.html and here http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/09/play-yards-what-parents-should-know/
*You can learn more about the dangers associated with portable cribs and their attachments here http://www.kidsindanger.org/?s=bassinet+attachment
*To learn more about Professor McKenna’s guidelines for safer co-sleeping, click here: http://cosleeping.nd.edu/safe-co-sleeping-guidelines/
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