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Don't Panic, Use a Pacifier

Don't Panic, Use a Pacifier

WebMD Feature

Nursing went smoothly right from the start for Rexann Brew, but she soon noticed that even when her baby wasn't hungry, little Anna still had a strong desire to suckle. Rexann resorted to giving the infant a pacifier.

"We sort of hoped she would be a thumbsucker and comfort herself," says Brew, of Pasadena, Calif., who admits she and her husband awoke at least once a night for more months than she cares to count to replace the pacifier in Anna's mouth so the baby could get back to sleep.

Despite the sleepless nights, the pacifier was a lifesaver. "I nursed her," says Brew, "but I didn't want to become her pacifier."

The Sane Choice

Pacifiers may still carry the stigma of being second-rate next to the old standby -- a baby's own ever-so-handy thumb or fingers. But most experts say that for infants who have a stronger than usual urge to suck and don't really take to fingers or thumbs, pacifiers are fine if used properly.

"I prefer that babies suck their hands," says Dr. Barbara Howard, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. "But if they won't and they have a lot of difficulty regulating themselves, then listen, let's do what works. Pacifiers can save lives, seriously."