The effects of nonnutritive sucking (NNS) were studied in 40 preterm infants weighing less than or equal to 1800 g and of less than or equal to 35 weeks gestation by using a pacifier. The provision of NNS accelerated the maturation of sucking resulting in a faster transition from gavage to oral feedings. Treated infants (20) were ready for bottle feeds 1.54 days earlier, took their bottle feeds 1.5 min/30 ml faster and were transferred out of the nursery on an average .5 days earlier than the control infants. No adverse effects due to NNS were observed throughout the period of study. This resulted in an earlier union with their mother, less maternal deprivation and decreased work load on the nursery staff. Used judiciously this simple and safe modality of providing a pacifier for NNS during tube feeding may be useful in the management of preterm infants.