Photo Credit: O'Neill/White/INFphoto.com; Alicia Silverstone/The Kind Life
You know what I hate? When a celebrity goes and does something wack-a-doodle and then I seem all judgy for scrunching up my nose at it.
Today's star du jour: Alicia Silverstone of Clueless fame. She's the mom of an adorable 10-month-old son, Bear Blu, and she's currently all over the interweb feeding him baby-bird style. (Check out the video below.) Translation: She chewed up some miso soup, collard greens, radish and other vegan delights -- and fed her son from her mouth.
I'm no food priss: My kids have been known to eat food off the floor, to chow down on a year-old raisin unearthed from the car seat and to delight in many a boogers. I don't even raise an eyebrow. But pre-chewed food from Mama's mouth? Apparently, that's where I draw the line.
The idea of a mother chewing her baby's food (premastication or "kiss feeding") is common in certain cultures and some research claims that it can aid a baby's digestion and increase immunity in areas where there are health risks such as a lack of clean water. But the practice can also expose your baby to dangerous viruses and bacteria through saliva.
It can also harm your baby's teeth. "Sharing spoons or forks with your child is a very efficient way of transferring bacteria that contributes to tooth decay to your child. Sharing food out of your mouth is even worse," says Rhea Haugseth, DDS, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. "Most likely, there would be a larger number of these bacteria and you'd increase your child's risk of tooth decay even more."
Do I still have affection for Alicia? Yeah. She's so cute and seems like a super-loving mom and she's very into Mama Earth and healthy living. But still: Yuck. Here's what other iVillagers had to say on Facebook:
"I'm sure there's nothing wrong with it. I bet that's how the cave people fed their babies back in the day. LOL. I think its gross though, but its her baby she can feed him however she wants to." -- Michelle
"Thats gross and unnecessary." -- Lauren
"Oh please. Most all of us have done this in one way or another, whether it is chewing up ice or food. Come on people: We do what we gotta do as parents." -- Leya
"Not only is that gross, but it could be bad for his dental health. My dentist told us not to share utensils when they're really little because we have bacteria in our mouths that babies don't, so it's not good for them." -- Susan
"Other cultures feed their children food directly from parent's hand into baby or child's mouth. Other cultures may also feed baby in this manner." -- Camille
"My mom would tell us how she would chew food for us and I thought it was so gross until I became a mom myself and I did it for my son occasionally, although I used my fingers to feed him. I don't think it's such a big deal. Everyone has different parenting styles and this just happens to be hers." -- Priscilla
"Wrong in so many ways..and just gross!" -- Kathy
"Eww, but it is her business if she does this." -- Kristine
"Not a huge deal. The only thing I would be concerned with is spreading germs. If she was coming down with something she could pass the germs to her child and could potentially be dangerous since little ones have a harder time with viruses than adults do." -- Vicky