I hear this now and then. And it's true! Since my daughter still refuses-- despite my repeated efforts-- to take a plastic nipple, she often gets the real thing instead. I believe strongly in the value of non-nutritive sucking to relieve a baby's tension and even mitigate pain.
Lately, though, I find myself bristling more and more when someone makes the above comment to me. It's not the words themselves, which are of course true. It's the derogatory tone that accompanies them, the implied criticism-- the implication that I ought to be enlightened to my baby's "manipulation."
No one stops to think that a pacifier is a substitute. A highly-convenient substitute, but a substitute nonetheless. Yet did anyone ever look at my son sucking away on his pacifier and say, "He's just using that thing as a breast"?
Why do we act as if the pacifier were nature's way of settling a baby, and non-nutritive suckling at the breast a bizarre aberration that needs correction?