I was so excited to receive the Chicco Next to Me Dream, a side sleeping crib, for review. It was the one product I was determined to have for this baby that I didn’t have last time, as I felt sure it would be a game-changer for nighttime feedings. I was unaware of the differences between the old and new versions of the Chicco next to me crib, which is relevant to the review and I’ll come to later.
Lifting a baby in and out of a cot several times a night is not only disturbing to the baby, as they grow (sob) it also eventually starts to hurt your back. When they’re tiny (as Pixie was, for far longer than most babies!), you can do it almost with one hand and it’s no problem at all. By the time they’re weighing 10lb, I really notice it and have to either put up with the discomfort or get out of bed to lift them and, let’s face it, when you have a newborn – and especially when you also have a toddler – every moment in bed is precious.
So, the idea of having a cot which would essentially be an extension of our bed was blissful. I envisaged co-sleeping with all of the benefits and none of the associated issues – heaven.
Chicco Next to Me Dream Review
The Reality of a New Baby
They say never work with children and here’s why: despite being absolutely determined not to co-sleep (a hard limit for hubby and I), guess what we did for the first six weeks of Elfin’s life? She was incredibly unsettled in the evenings and putting her in her cot was simply not an option. It transpired that she was suffering with allergies and I quickly realised that if I was to get any sleep, I had to relax my rules – co-sleeping became inevitable.
So hubby was kicked out of the bedroom to make room for Elfin (I was terrified of squishing her). I became rather concerned about how I was going to review this cot, which I‘d so desperately wanted but Elfin was not well enough to use! After several weeks of cutting dairy from my diet she began to show signs of improvement. I decided to bite the bullet and relocate her back to her own bed so that hubby could rejoin us and I could fulfil my obligation to review.
Incredibly, from the very first night she was perfectly content in there – although I did line the relatively hard mattress (compared to ours on which she’d got used to sleeping) with a couple of very soft blankets to make it cosier for her. I attribute the easy transition in part to the space and closeness to me.
Definitely a better result than I’d dared to hope for, and I don’t doubt better than if I’d been attempting to transfer her to a moses basket. Result.
Assembly of the Chicco Next to Me Dream Cot
When the delivery came the large box didn’t deter me from opening it up and endeavouring to put the cot together myself. However, on removing all of the packaging, my heavily-pregnant-fatigue got the better of me and I decided to let my husband deal with the building of the item. This is most unlike me but I decided I should rest while I still had the opportunity!
Though I didn’t watch him do it, my husband assures me that assembling the cot was simple. Note, however, that in not reading the instructions, he slotted the frame together incorrectly, meaning we were unable to use the safety straps provided (they wrap around the base of your bed) without taking the cot apart again.
Moral of the story: dads – read the instructions! (Mums too, but in my house it’s always him who knows best!)
Size of the Side Sleeping Crib
The assembled cot measures 93 (l) x 69 (w), which when compared to a moses basket (90 x 42 cm) is considerably larger. If you have the space in your bedroom then as far as I’m concerned that can only be a good thing. I know lots of people move their baby into their own room before the recommended minimum six months, but if you adhere to NHS guidelines then in most cases you really need that extra room for the last few weeks.
Features of the Chicco Next2Me
The cot feels good quality, though not as heavy as I expected. This makes it manoeuvrable, which is great for travel, or if you’ll be using it to co-sleep as well as moving it away from the bed some of the time. It also has wheels to aid moving it, and the feet nearest the bed can be released and turned inwards at 90 degrees to leave minimal space between the cot and the bed. There’s even a handy feature on the feet which allows you to rock the cot.
The height is easily adjustable, again meaning you can be as close as possible to baby. Best of all each end can be raised and lowered independently, which is fab for reflux babies.
The sides of the cot are made of fabric, with breathable mesh panels to prevent suffocation.
The side of the cot facing the bed has a simple squeeze and release mechanism to enables it to quickly and easily raised or lowered with just one hand. This is brilliant, but we’ve only ever had the side down, since that’s its purpose after all. Besides which, even with the side down there’s a lip next to the bed which prevents the baby from rolling out of the cot. Yeah, about that…
Safety Feature of the Chicco Next to Me Dream Cot
It’s a great product and I’m glad I have it, but in the name of transparency, it’s not quite what I’d anticipated. In my mind’s eye I had visions of Elfin sleeping close enough that we could comfortably be nose to nose. Because of the cot bar against the bed, that’s simply not possible.
The cot cover can be removed for washing – essential for young babies! – and it appeared to me that there should also be an option to remove the side bar; certainly this is a feature of older models. I struggled to see how to do it, and neither could my husband figure it out.
In the end I enquired with the PR and discovered that this bar is not intended to be removed as with previous models.
You may have heard the bad press about another brand of co-sleeping cot. It was determined in the case in question that the issue arose due to misuse. I suspect the updated feature of the Chicco Next2Me Dream is to remove the possibility of using the cot in a way which could be dangerous.
Unfortunately it also means that breastfeeding is not quite the beautiful experience I’d romanticised: I still have to lift Elfin out of the cot to feed her, which kind of negates its initial purpose for me.
It is possible to lean in to the cot to feed – but not easy or comfortable, meaning the safety aspect of the cot does somewhat impede on its original USP in my opinion.
Alas, the magic answer I was seeking to minimise the effects of sleep deprivation simply doesn’t exist. Babies are supposed to wake frequently and we are supposed to suck it up. Despite this realisation, of course I can hardly complain when the design is to ensure my baby’s safety. And I’ve loved the cot in spite of being unable to use it in quite the way I’d envisioned. Overall, the Chicco Next2Me Dream is still a fab cot.
If you found this Chicco Next to Me Dream review helpful, please consider sharing!