Back in the 1990s, when “co-sleeping” still meant “bed-sharing,” a mother-father couple founded Arm’s Reach and came out with the first-ever “co-sleeper” to introduce a way for parents to safely sleep alongside their babies.
Now, co-sleeping technically means “sleeping in close proximity to your baby”, while bed-sharing means… well, sharing a bed with your baby. If you are a soon-to-be parent with interest in either of these (pediatrician-recommended) newborn sleeping arrangements, you should definitely check out the Arm’s Reach Clear-Vue Co-sleeper.
Going on 25 years, it’s sort of a classic at this point. Hah!
The Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper is like a mini play yard with a removable drop side that abuts perfectly (usually) to your bed. It attaches like a “sidecar,” securing to your own bed with a strap that anchors to your bed frame. It goes between the mattress and the box spring and attaches to the opposite side of the bed.
With all-around mesh siding, it’s always easy to see baby next to you. Parents who love this sleeper rave that you can easily reach for your baby to nurse at night without even having to get up (score!). It’s similar to the HALO Bassinest, but lacks a swivel arm.
(However, note that the drop side might be cumbersome to operate in the middle of the night. It relies on Velcro, which can be noisy, so you’ll want to handle any adjustments prior to bedtime.)
Unlike the HALO Bassinest, the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper offers generous underneath storage. This is really nice for stashing middle-of-the-night essentials like extra burp cloths, swaddles, or diapers. Although without any built-in shelves, it isn’t the easiest space to access.
With the drop side raised, you also have the option of using this co-sleeper as a traditional, stand-alone bassinet that can be used anywhere in your house. When detached from your bed, you can roll it around the house (at 20” wide, it’ll fit through any doorway).
The downside to Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper is that it’s strictly a 0-6 month item. Since you can’t lower the mattress (and it’s so small), you won’t be able to use it later as a play yard for travel and whatnot. Something you can do with a Pack ‘n Play.
This bassinet comes with a mattress pad and one fitted sheet. If you want extras you can get them here (they run ~$22 a pop).
To compete with HALO Bassinest, Arm’s Reach has come out with a number of variations on its original design.
First, it released the Versatile Co-Sleeper ($220) to mimic some of the Bassinest features. This one has a more modern look and feel compared to the original. You can adjust it to fit your bed’s height, and the built-in music box plays 5 songs and a few nature sounds (on AA batteries). The Arm’s Reach Versatile also has a mobile, though many parents find it annoying and simply remove it altogether. If the auditory features are important to you, this is a nice pick, but if you don’t particularly want or need them, we don’t see any reason to spend $30 more on this than the Glide version of the HALO Bassinest.
Arm’s Reach also now offers a 3-in-1 Co-sleeper ($250), which converts into a play yard, and a mini version ($230), which is better for travel. (The full size 3-in-1 has about the same footprint as a Pack ‘n Play and the mini version is smaller, roughly 34″x19″.) We like that these offer more longevity of use compared to the original co-sleeper. But for the price tag, we’d like to see a more user-friendly play yard.
As play yards go, these Arm’s Reach 3-in-1’s leave something to be desired. They’re a huge pain in the a$$ to set up. One reviewer said: “My husband is a Professional Engineer and it can take him up to 20 minutes to assemble this.”
If you’re interested in perusing all the Arm’s Reach options and seeing what the best fit for your needs is, check out Choosing the Right Co-Sleeper.
**That said, we think if you want a play yard or a travel crib, your money is better spent elsewhere. If what you’re after is a bedside co-sleeper that will stay put at your bed (for the most part), this is your best bet. That’s where Arm’s Reach excels.