Tape a pacifier to a baby? What are better crying solutions?

I read the saddest story on the front page of ajc.com this morning – a 9-month-old baby boy died after a neonatal nurse who was caring for the boy TAPED A PACIFIER TO HIS MOUTH, authorities said. It was his foster mother in South Carolina.

The Associated Press reports : “Investigators say neonatal nurse Angela Dukes was in her first day caring for the boy on Feb. 8. They say she tried to quiet him but the taped pacifier blocked his breathing and he died that day.”

“State Law Enforcement Division spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons says the 30-year-old Dukes of Columbia was charged Wednesday with felony unlawful conduct toward a child.”

“Officials say Dukes is in the Richland County jail awaiting a bond hearing. It wasn’t immediately clear if she had an attorney.”

“A woman identifying herself as Dukes’ mother said she didn’t want to talk about the arrest.”

Holy cow! My heart is broken!

I know it can be frustrating and hard when a baby cries a lot, but people don’t tape a pacifier to a baby’s mouth! I bet this baby boy was upset and missing his mother. He needed extra patience, extra care and extra love.

My first baby cried all the time. She was very difficult to settle especially in the first few months. We did A LOT of baby wearing in a sling to help calm her. She didn’t like pacifiers or even her own thumb, but she did like to suck on our fingers a lot. The lactation specialist recommended taking her outside during especially fussy times. I can remember putting her in the sling and walking her outside around the house to calm her down at all kinds of hours. That really worked well. It’s supposed to be the change in temperature, noise and just air in general that calms them. They stop crying to notice their new surroundings. (These Wubbanub Plush Pacifiers at left sold on Baby Dagny help babies put their own pacifiers back in their mouths.)

Michael used to do these crazy up and down movements with her in his arms – kind of like calf lifts or knee bends. She seemed to like them. Michael also used to carry the rocking chair downstairs from our bedroom so we can watch TV together, and I could rock her in the dark.

What are some of your best tips to deal with a baby that cries a lot – maybe colicky, maybe tired, maybe just a sensitive baby? Would you/have you taped a pacifier to a baby? (They do make these super neat pacifiers now that I used with Lilina. A stuffed animal is sewn securely to a pacifier so even relatively young babies can get their own passies back in their mouths. Don’t try to make your own! They need to be very secure to be safe!)

58 comments Add your comment


May 7th, 2009
10:56 pm

Okay….I know I will get vilified by all of you who believe in the co-sleeping/family bed with my comments, but I just have to chime in. We read The Baby Whisperer books and one of her main philosophies is “Start as you mean to go.” In other words, if you don’t want your child in the bed with you in the future, don’t ever start it. How do any of you actually sleep or have “quality time” with your hubbies?!? And what about when the alarm goes off early in the morning? Do your kids get up too?!? When Little E was a newborn she made so many little noises when she slept that I could not have her in the same room with me when I was trying to sleep. I was constantly listening to those noises and I would not sleep. We tried putting her in a pack & play in our room when we brought her home, but on day 3 we started putting her in her own bed and she has been there ever since. If she gets up in the night (which rarely happens), I go lay with her until she goes back to sleep and then I go get back in my own fabulous Sleep Number Bed. Sorry girls….I just don’t get the family bed thing. Little E and I are together playing all day long…I just don’t want or need her in our bed. Momma needs her sleep!


May 8th, 2009
1:17 am

SD I encourage you to do a little research before you automatically side with the AAP. You can’t always judge a book by its cover. Did you know that the panel is made up of only about 5-6 people? It sure sounds like a lot more by the sound of the name. I think the main reason that the AAP discourages co-sleeping is because it lumps some risky co-sleeping practices with safe ones. For example, persons who are obese, smoke or are intoxicated are not recommended to co-sleep with their infants. Also, it is not recommended that parents sleep in anything other than a bed. Erroneously, these risky sleep practices have been included (and make up the majority) in the statistics regarding deaths associated with co-sleeping.

You really should check out Dr. James McKenna’s research. He really is a very educated man who has poured YEARS into his research on the subject.


May 8th, 2009
1:31 am

Kathy, you are certainly welcome to your opinions, but infants are not born to be able to sleep through the night. They actually need to be waking up somewhat frequently. This is mother nature’s way of helping to prevent SIDS. When babies are in a much deeper sleep (bottle feeding also helps to facilitate a deeper sleep), their risks of SIDS increases. When babies sleep lighter, they are better able to arouse themselves if they were to become asphyxiated or entraped in bedding etc.

As for time with the hubby, we just moved the little guy into his crib temporarily. There ARE other places to get intimate besides the bed, you know.

Anyway, long story short, you guys are all entitled to your opinions regarding co-sleeping. I am merely suggesting that you look at the research before you dog those of us who prefer co-sleeping. You may be surprised at what you learn. I attended Dr. McKenna’s conference 2 years ago and was amazed at his scientific research. BTW, it was a medical conference.

Good night all!


May 8th, 2009
9:28 am

Kathy –
Thanks for your thoughts.. Like I said i don’t have kids yet, but as of right now I am in the same opinion as you, they (kids) need to do what they will always do… :)


May 8th, 2009
12:19 pm

One thing that struck me in this story is that this was a Neo-Natal Nurse! How could she not know that taping a pacifier in was a Bad idea?!?

A continuously crying baby can be incredibly frustrating. That is why parents of newborns need additional support from those around them so that they have the opportunity to possibly get a short break.

My sister used to set the baby carrier on top of the washer. The vibrations seemed to sooth her son.


May 8th, 2009
12:35 pm

“SD I encourage you to do a little research before you automatically side with the AAP.”

I don’t actually have an opinion on it. Just thought I would post theirs for discussion.

IN my case, I didn’t want my son in the bed because he was so tiny and I toss and turn A LOT during the night. I have been known to wake up flinging my arms at nothing even.


May 8th, 2009
4:25 pm

Maybe we need an entire topic devoted to cosleeping…

Cosleeping is not for everyone. If you are a light sleeper and all the little baby noises will wake you up, then, you will not get quality sleep with a baby in the bed. I was the opposite. I slept much better with my baby next to me. We bought a crib and ended up not setting it up for any of the kids.

As for “quality time”, if you are talking about sex, it did not affect our sex life at all. We had more than one bed (and floor and couch and futon). If you are talking about hanging out with my spouse, our bed was never a place where we had conversations. We sleep or have sex in our bed (and I read in bed).


May 12th, 2009
6:30 pm

I cannot believe that ANYONE would even consider taping a pacifier to a baby’s mouth!My daughter is ridiculously attached to her pacifier. It is a nice option to have for soothing her in those times of need, but there were nights when she was conjested and her insistance on having that pacifier caused me to worry about her getting air. She also will only take MAM pacifiers. I have found some really cute ones in this brand such as pink Rock and Roll ones. I plan to use the “Binky Fairy” method as shown on the TV supernanny when it comes time to get rid of the pacifier. It works similar to the tooth fairy idea. The child willinging gives up their pacifier to the “binky fairy” who takes the pacifer to another child who needs it more. The next morning when the child wakes up, the pacifer is gone from the fairy’s basket, but a present is in its place. I hope this method works when the time comes!