New pacifier designed especially for preemies

In Health Works: A new pacifier for preemies is making a difference.
A nurse couldn't stand to see tiny babies in pain, so she created something to sooth them. 

In Health Works, many parents understand the value of the pacifier.

But for babies born premature, a typical pacifier might not be an option. one nurse has changed that. 

There are few things quite as unsettling as the sound of a crying baby, and few things that can calm them quite like a pacifier.

But because tiny preemies have tubes in their throats, they can't use a pacifier. When they cry, these tiny babies can't make a sound.

"It hurts for a mother to see, like, your child sitting there trying to express themselves," said Amber Eady, the mother of a premature twins. "Your hands are tied, there's really nothing that you can do." 

But Harriet Miller changed that. she's an NICU nurse at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for women and babies in Orlando, home to the world's largest NICU under one roof.

Because she couldn't bear to see these preemies suffer, she invented a pacifier especially for them.

"It's super small for the small babies and their small little mouths," Miller said. "Very pliable, and it has this groove that's cut out, so that it can sit beside an endotracheal tube."

In a study conducted at Orlando Health's Center for Nursing Research, preemies who used the pacifier during blood tests were much calmer.

Results showed their heart rates and pain index dropped while their oxygen levels increased.

The preemie pacifier has become the standard of care in NICUs across the country. 

But Miller says that's not enough.

So she's now asking the American Academy of Neonatal Nursing to make the preemie pacifiers available anywhere they're needed.

"We are lobbying for them to be in the emergency room or also on helicopters or anywhere that babies that are going to be intubated," Miller said. "So that they have that as an option for them. They're our tiniest patients and it's the right thing to do." 

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