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by Abigail Van Buren

Did He Cheat or Didn't He? That Is Couple's Question

DEAR ABBY: My wife has allowed our 16-month-old daughter, "Alicia," to sleep in our bed (off and on) for some time. My wife gets tired of waking up in the middle of the night to rock Alicia back to sleep, so she picks her up and brings her back to our bed.

I try to help out by going into Alicia's room and rocking her and eventually laying her back down in her crib. This usually works, but when my wife brings her into our room, she destroys the progress I was making in keeping the baby in her own bed.

I love our daughter very much, but I end up with little feet hitting my chin and I don't sleep well. My wife doesn't seem to mind, but I want our bed back. Alicia has a beautiful crib and I think in time she will learn to love it, but my wife says she can't stand to hear her cry.

Abby, what do pediatricians say? -- CROWDED BED

DEAR CROWDED BED: Pediatricians differ on this issue. While many believe otherwise, most American families keep their babies in separate beds. In some other cultures, it is normal for a baby to share the parents' bed until mid-childhood.

An infant will adjust to the style the parents choose. You and your wife must determine where you want Alicia to sleep, then be consistent in establishing a pattern. It may take several nights of crying, but Alicia can learn to sleep comfortably in her own bed, if that is what you choose to teach her.