3

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Alicia Silverstone Bird Feeding Controversy?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 28, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Ok, I'm not a parent so I'm asking this question out of curiosity more than anything else, but I found myself getting really annoyed this morning watching all the morning news shows trot out medical professionals to descry Alicia Silverstone's behavior in a video that shows her chewing up food for her 10-month-old son and "bird feeding" it to him. I heard doctor after doctor go on and on about bacteria. Now, I can't say whether or not I'd be ok with doing this with my own baby because I don't have any and I will admit to a mild level of grossed-outedness at watching the video -- probably because it's not my kid and I don't know why she felt the need to post this publicly (most likely for publicity).

But as a recent (last two months) primal/paleo convert, it strikes me as strange that modern humans would be so freaked out about this. I've read accounts that prehistoric mothers regularly chewed up their baby's food before giving it to them with the intent of making it easier for them to eat and with the added benefit of it strengthening the baby's immune system by exposing baby to mom's bacteria. It boggles my mind how doctors could attack a mother for sharing her saliva with her own baby! Gross? maybe. Dangerous? I don't really think so.

Silverstone is a huge vegan proponent and while I don't agree with her dietary choices, I still respect her freedom as a mother to feed her kid whatever she wants however she wants.

To me this is a yet another example of fear-factor culture gone wild. Any primal/paleo perspectives on this? Primal parents -- have you or would you do the same with your babies?

645be4f772c65ed78832224d35222893

(364)

on March 29, 2012
at 11:51 PM

To be honest, I didn't see how old the child was or what the food was. Just making a general comment about jaw development and diet haha

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on March 29, 2012
at 09:30 PM

Babies would have been breast fed for years so probably wouldn't have attempted meat till they had little teeth to do the job.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 29, 2012
at 09:22 PM

Um, choking hazards much? We are talking about babies. I feel like this is a really common thing, I remember my mom doing it all the time for my little brother. That way he could eat tougher bits, cartilage, and raw vegetables without just shoving it in his face then coughing it up. He still chewed it- she just would get it started and in smaller pieces.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 29, 2012
at 09:19 PM

@April S. Yeah, I read the placenta thing today! I think my mom had her placenta from my little brother in our freezer for years. Guess that's not really the point though. I think she ended up burying it under a tree (I think that's a thing too?).

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on March 28, 2012
at 09:51 PM

Hey I guess it makes sense in a way. She eats bird food -so she might as well feed like a bird too!

F80aaa96354eb749a8a5efdda3feba7d

(457)

on March 28, 2012
at 09:07 PM

So true my little girl has been devouring steaks and chicken since about 6 months.

F80aaa96354eb749a8a5efdda3feba7d

(457)

on March 28, 2012
at 09:06 PM

I would say the mouth to mouth is to either a.) Bond b.) Makes bit of controversy or c.) Cause she didn't have anything to wipe her hands with had she taken it out.

F80aaa96354eb749a8a5efdda3feba7d

(457)

on March 28, 2012
at 09:05 PM

You obviously never saw my baby girl know her way through a steak at 9 months. Lol. Babies are tougher than you think.

Medium avatar

(10663)

on March 28, 2012
at 07:23 PM

Uh, how about the January Jones eating placenta controversy? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/27/eating-the-placenta_n_1383046.html

22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on March 28, 2012
at 03:32 PM

Sorry Melissa....that's what I meant. Yeah...Some vegetarians still eat fish, eggs, etc, so there definitely a difference.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 28, 2012
at 03:27 PM

It's a vegan diet, which is much more strict. Plenty of healthy vegetarian cultures, veganism is a modern invention.

D8f58eba263277ec6119293137b85b02

(1071)

on March 28, 2012
at 03:04 PM

Haha, you beat me to the punch! I thought of asking this question last night right before I fell asleep and all this morning I felt like I was forgetting something. I'm interested in the responses.

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10 Answers

12
22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on March 28, 2012
at 03:08 PM

I would say the media should be more outraged for that fact that she is feeding her kid a vegetarian diet!!!! With regards to her feeding method, I would say she is spot on because she is giving her childs digestive system a head start by allowing her saliva to break down the food and get the digestion process going. I did this with my son for meat, especially steak since chewing at that age is difficult.

22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on March 28, 2012
at 03:32 PM

Sorry Melissa....that's what I meant. Yeah...Some vegetarians still eat fish, eggs, etc, so there definitely a difference.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 28, 2012
at 03:27 PM

It's a vegan diet, which is much more strict. Plenty of healthy vegetarian cultures, veganism is a modern invention.

10
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on March 28, 2012
at 03:03 PM

I've even heard of bizarre practices of modern mothers inserting the nipple's of their own breasts into their baby's mouths! Disgusting! All that bacteria!

Hehe. ;-)

Kidding aside, I will never chew my future children's food (short of some hypothetical medical reason that I have to?). However, from what you described, the "decrying" of this behavior shouldn't be for germs: it should be decried 'cause it's just a tad bit silly, IMHO. Then again, no harm, no foul.

9
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 28, 2012
at 03:12 PM

Many of the moms I know (and work with) do this. Totally Paleo, IMO!

6
6b4909a79a5f70bd9e3d141be8e659de

on March 28, 2012
at 03:19 PM

I think it's gross and unnecessary. I feed my 7 month old just about everything, well no processed foods. She has no teeth but is able to eat most meats just fine. I do baby led weaning which means no purees or spoon feeding. She feeds herself, which most babies her age are perfectly capable of. I guess people think if their baby doesn't have teeth they aren't capable of chewing, which is not true.

F80aaa96354eb749a8a5efdda3feba7d

(457)

on March 28, 2012
at 09:07 PM

So true my little girl has been devouring steaks and chicken since about 6 months.

5
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 28, 2012
at 03:05 PM

All part of the modern myth that we can/should live a "germ free" life. When I was a kid, adults frequently laughed at me covered in dirt and said, "Everyone needs to eat a peck of dirt before they die." Quite a reversal, eh?

While I don't think we need to go as far as my childhood did, with no central plumbing, I think it's great to chew your kid's food. I didn't do so on a constant basis, but I frequently shared pieces of food I'd touched or bitten off when my son was little, as part of eating games. And all kids SHOULD be exposed to animals and fermented foods.

3
2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on March 28, 2012
at 03:02 PM

It seems to me that this would be the best, if not the only, way our ancestors could introduce a very young child to eating meat. How else? There were no food processors or meat grinders, no chef's knives for dicing and mincing. Other than grinding it between two rocks, which would be more difficult and time-consuming, chewing and feeding makes the most sense!

I agree with your comment on "Gross, maybe" but you're right- probably not dangerous (absent disease transmission through spit).

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on March 29, 2012
at 09:30 PM

Babies would have been breast fed for years so probably wouldn't have attempted meat till they had little teeth to do the job.

F80aaa96354eb749a8a5efdda3feba7d

(457)

on March 28, 2012
at 09:05 PM

You obviously never saw my baby girl know her way through a steak at 9 months. Lol. Babies are tougher than you think.

2
13d0954a3de285d01ae837953b4d2ad6

(60)

on March 29, 2012
at 05:55 PM

I have an 11 month old that will be 1 next week and while I don't pass the food from my mouth to his, I do chew some stuff for him. Especially steak and BACON! LOL but as to what another mother said about babies being perfectly capable of chewing on their own even if they don't have teeth...not true for every baby. My son got his first two teeth at 9 months. He only just, like 2 weeks ago discoverd the chewing motion. And he deffinattly can't break most things down by chewing with his gums! Back to the whole "OMG! how gross!" Aren't there more important stories that need to be reported on other than some celeberties child rearing habits? Last I check my brothers in arms are still out there dieing...just sayin

1
F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on March 28, 2012
at 05:21 PM

Ok, I get why she would pre-chew food, the added bacteria and digestive juices. That is all amicable. That poor kid needs every chance for nutrition with her diet choices. (Even her poor dogs are vegetarian).

But why mouth to mouth? Can't she spit in a bowl first?

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on March 28, 2012
at 09:51 PM

Hey I guess it makes sense in a way. She eats bird food -so she might as well feed like a bird too!

F80aaa96354eb749a8a5efdda3feba7d

(457)

on March 28, 2012
at 09:06 PM

I would say the mouth to mouth is to either a.) Bond b.) Makes bit of controversy or c.) Cause she didn't have anything to wipe her hands with had she taken it out.

0
7eba3d743671649c1e06cacce0ba4e77

(1423)

on February 12, 2013
at 07:09 AM

When I was young, my father used to chew peanuts for me. I am still alive.

0
645be4f772c65ed78832224d35222893

on March 29, 2012
at 09:02 PM

I remember something in intro to anthropology that a lot of dental and face muscle problems came about in humans when our diet got softer from changing diet and cooking foods. Why, the hell can't kids chew their own food to build stronger jaw muscles? Quit coddling them.

645be4f772c65ed78832224d35222893

(364)

on March 29, 2012
at 11:51 PM

To be honest, I didn't see how old the child was or what the food was. Just making a general comment about jaw development and diet haha

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 29, 2012
at 09:22 PM

Um, choking hazards much? We are talking about babies. I feel like this is a really common thing, I remember my mom doing it all the time for my little brother. That way he could eat tougher bits, cartilage, and raw vegetables without just shoving it in his face then coughing it up. He still chewed it- she just would get it started and in smaller pieces.

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