A co sleeper can be an excellent choice for many families looking for a family bed. If you've explored the different family bed options and decided that a “side car” arrangement is right for you then a co sleeper may be just what you are looking for.
Co sleepers are a specialized baby bed. It is created to attach directly to the side of the parent's bed. Most co sleepers can also be used alone as a freestanding portable play yard.
If you decide to use a co sleeper you will have the options of choosing a full sized or a mini size. The full sized co sleeper is just about the size of a portable play yard – such as the Graco Pack n Play. The mattress is about an inch smaller. This size gives your baby plenty of room at night. It's also a great size if you do use it as a portable sleeping area.
You can place your baby into it while he naps during the day and have him right out front with you. Or you can use it to keep your older baby safe while you are cleaning or working with something she shouldn't get into.
You may prefer to have a smaller co sleeper. These “mini sizes” will fit into smaller bedrooms more easily. The mini size will take up less space in your room while still allowing your baby to be right beside you in a sidecar arrangement. Most mini co sleepers will also convert to a freestanding bassinet.
A co sleeper usually offers the same features as a portable play yard. These include a bassinet – on the co sleeper this is at the same level as your bed – and the ability to convert into a play yard. A mini co sleeper probably won't turn into a play yard, but it will serve as a free standing bassinet. Most co sleepers also fold up very compactly and can easily be taken with you when you travel. This allows your baby a comfortable and familiar bed no matter where you go.
Of course, the biggest benefit of the co sleeper is something a portable play yard can't offer. It is the side that drops down to allow your baby to be right on the level of your bed, yet still in her bed at the same time. This gives you the space you need in bed, yet also allows your little one to be very close. You can roll right over to nurse your baby at night and then both of you can sleep securely in your own beds.
If you choose to have a family bed with a sidecar arrangement – and many parents do prefer this, especially when baby is very small – a co sleeper may be just the solution you are looking for. It also offers the added benefits of being able to convert into a free standing bassinet or a portable play yard. Consider a co sleeper if you are looking into a sidecar set-up for your family bed.