Pre-Chewing Baby's Food Looks to Be A-OK
Alicia Silverstone's practice offers benefits similar to breastfeeding
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Apr 3, 2012 2:47 PM CDT
Alicia Silverstone caused a fuss with a video of herself pre-chewing her baby's food.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Alicia Silverstone's video of herself chewing her baby's food last week prompted disgusted comments, but she may actually be doing little Bear Blu a favor. Our ancestors did the same, and plenty of non-Western cultures still do it, Life's Little Mysteries notes. Like breast-feeding, "pre-mastication" offers benefits to a baby. The tiny quantities of germs in a mother's saliva prompt a baby's immune system to produce helpful antibodies.

Getting too little exposure to such pathogens may raise the risk of asthma and other autoimmune diseases, scientists say. There's one caveat: Pre-mastication could cause a baby to catch a disease it's exposed to through the mother's saliva, prompting doctors to warn women with HIV not to pre-chew. But the risks involved appear to be lower than once thought; indeed, the risk is higher from breast milk. "We think the story is identical for both breastfeeding and pre-mastication—they save lives by ensuring good nutrition and good development of the immune system," says a researcher.

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Showing 3 of 25 comments
Apr 3, 2012 11:57 PM CDT
I remember a few times we did the same for out child, just to introduce a new food that was a bit tough, or needed to be ground a bit, but that was when we forgot our little hand cranked food grinder, were at a restaurant ....but not that frequently though. Once she started getting teeth, we didn't anymore
Apr 3, 2012 11:31 PM CDT
Kinda like sucking the snot out of their nose when they have a cold.
Apr 3, 2012 5:09 PM CDT
Oh, well thanks media, I guess I'll have to start liking Alicia Silverstone again. Forget the fact she isn't a good actor and I have no interest in her life. If you say she her current antics are ok, then hey you got my vote. I do whatever the media tells me :)