Mouth-To-Mouth Feeding? Mom Talk

Pre-chewing our kids' food is for the birds.

We are not birds. So when I saw actress Alicia Silverstone feeding her toddler son like one, I couldn't relate.

Silverstone has come under fire for posting a video on YouTube doing just that. The practice is called premastication or pre-chewing. She chews her son's food and feeds it to him from her mouth to his.

Yuck. I can't imagine a situation where I would do that.

Like Silverstone, I come under fire for how I feed my children. I had so many people, relatives included, who fought me for still nursing after two months. I've been publicly dressed down for not letting my toddler eat cake when he wouldn't eat his dinner first.

Premastication is different, however. Apparently, pre-Gerber mothers have been pre-chewing for centuries during the transition stages from breast milk to solid food. One study from the U.S. National Library of Medicine suggests that poor moms who don't pre-chew have higher instances of kids with poor nutrition.

Could it be that moms who can't afford baby food jars have to feed their kids more milk and formula rather than meat or other solid foods?

Personally, I'm a big fan of kitchen power tools. We have all kinds of Ninjas, blenders and Cuisinarts that chop and crush and pulverize.

I pick asparagus out of the garden and buy other veggies when they look fresh. I steam them, purée them and freeze them in little ice cube trays. When my child is hungry, I nuke a cube with a little rice cereal and voilá. Largely thanks to things that plug in, our kids can eat what we eat.

No matter how much I sympathize with a mom who is trying to do right by her kid, I just can't get my head around pre-chewing my kids' food. Yuck.

The Center for Disease Control says the practice can transmit diseases, such as HIV, AIDS, hepatitis B, and group A strep. Yuck, yuck, yuck and yuck. Why take a chance?

Ms. Silverstone, I applaud you for using your teeth to do what you think is right for your son. However, if you don't mind, I'm just going to stick to using choppers that say "pulse."

neveryoumind April 13, 2012 at 11:38 PM
I agree with NaperDad, the CDC probably doesn't condone kissing your child for fear of transmitting diseases! Or what about taking a bite from the same utensil? Or putting your lips to a bite of your child's food to make sure the temp. is just right? All these practices could 'potentially' transmit disease. Pre-chewing your young child's food is not simply for 'chopping' it up. It's also for mother-child bonding. Every bite you feed your child, you 'kiss' them. Pre-chewing also starts the digestion process for your child. Baby saliva doesn't have all the abilities to breakdown food like adult saliva does. Pre-chewing makes solids easier for baby's digestive system. Chopping food up in a kitchen gadget merely makes the food smaller but doesn't help in utilizing the food for health/energy like pre-chewing does. I'm not a holistic, vegan, granola, chrunchy, berkinstock-wearing, tree-hugging hippie. I'm merely a mom that's not afraid of things that I don't completely agree with or understand. I really wish that people would not be so judgemental of everything outside the 'norm'. P.S.-Erin, nuking food depletes it of nutrients. Just sayin'.
The Sentinel April 14, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Never: Really sorry but what you wrote is a crock. There are NO benefits to pre-chewing that cannot be accomplished by another, less disgusting way. And if you need to pre-chew because you want to...bind...with your kid, you can bond with the kid through attention to it, hugging it, loving it and showing it, playing with it, spending time with it, etc. This pre-chewing practice is disgusting and, if you want to explore any disadvantages to it, there's the POSSIBLE transmitting of gum disease and any other problem the parent may have healthwise. Maybe nuking depreives food of nutrients but it doesn't deprive them of ALL nutrients and if a mother wants to make food easier for the kid to digest, there's always baby food and/ir using a blender to PUREE it. That setting breaks solids down quite thoroughly. Sorry but your reasons FOR pre-chewing don't wash.
neveryoumind April 14, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Sentinel: Like I said....I really wish people would stop being so judgemental about things that are out of the 'norm'. I'm guessing by your comments that you don't know much about mother-child bonding or the chemistry of digestion. I would say, any chance of healthy bonding with a child should be capitalized on. I would hope a mom wouldn't pass on a bonding opportunity because she already hugs it, gives it attention, plays with it, etc. Also, an adult's saliva contains an enzyme that starts to break down starches and carbohydrates. A baby has the same enzyme only it's still developing. Pre-chewing actually starts to 'digest' the food to make it easier for a baby's system to take nutrients from the food. Pureeing food only breaks down the food into small particals, it doesn't start the digestion process and doesn't help the body use food for its main purpose, giving the body nutrients. So, YES, there ARE benefits to pre-chewing rather than using a kitchen gadget. It's OK to be different, Sentinel. People that pre-chew aren't doing you, their child, or anyone else any harm.
The Sentinel April 14, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Oh hogwash, Never. For one thing, like I said, there are pklenty of OTHER ways to bond with your kid besides swapping spit. MILLIONS of kids have healthy relationships with their mom (and dad) without using this really disgusting "opportunity". And MILLIONS of kids grow up retaining that bond without pre-chewing when they were young. As an opportunity to bond, pre-chewing would fall way down to the bottom of the list. As far as aiding the digestion of the kid goes...it may be true that it might give kids an aid to digestion but it's certainly NOT necessary. Again MILLIONS of kids get along, even while very young, without pre-chewing. Their little digestive systems cope with foods just fine...without pre-chewing. If this was SUCH a great thing to do, then it'd be right up there with breast feeding in "Care For Babies 101". If you'll notice, if you re-read my commenmts, you'll see that I never called any mom who pre-chews anything. I didn't say it's dumb. I didn't say the mothers were stupid. I didn't say anything about the mothers at all. I said the act of pre-chewing is disgusting. And if you'll read most of the other comments, they agree with me. "Bonding"? Hogwash. Aid to digestion...more of the same. Babies get along every day and they grow up just fine without having their food pre-chewed. Face it, you're not going to sway anyone with your arguements. It may be pok to be different and I never said it wasn't...but this is just pure ly disgusting.
neveryoumind April 14, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Sentinel: I never said it was the ONLY way of bonding with a child, I said it was ANOTHER way. Of course there are other ways of bonding, that's doesn't mean pre-chewing is any less legit. My response to this article was about debunking the idea of a kitchen gadget being as beneficial, or as good, as pre-chewing. My response was also about how many of our society's family practices could 'potentially' spread disease and the 'potential' isn't necessarily a reason not to do something. For the record, I was not arguing. I know better than to argue with close-mindedness.


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