‘Clueless’ Star Alicia Silverstone Fed Her Son Like Birds By Pre-chewing His Food
There’s no one right way to be a parent. Kids need love, and aside from that, there are many ways to successfully raise a child. Some parents prefer to helicopter, others follow the attachment parenting guide. And then there’s whatever Alicia Silverstone does.
The Clueless star has one child, a son named Bear Blu. Little Bear was born in 2011, and today is 8 years old. Bear and Silverstone are very close. Although she may not do it anymore, she had an unusual way of feeding Bear when he was a little cub.
Alicia Silverstone fed her son Bear like a bird
In 2012, Silverstone revealed she pre-chews Bear’s food like a bird. She posted a video of herself sitting on a couch with Bear, holding a bowl of soup. She then takes a bite of food and chews it, before spitting it back out into Bear’s mouth.
The process is apparently called ‘pre-mastication,’ according to an NBC News health expert. Silverstone posted the video on her own lifestyle blog, which is dedicated to health food.
On her blog, TheKindLife.com, Silverstone wrote that the ritual is very special. Both she and Bear enjoy it. She wrote: “I fed Bear the mochi and a tiny bit of veggies from the soup…from my mouth to his. It’s his favorite…and mine.”
The video sparked controversy and disgust in some, but there were others genuinely wondering if this is a good way to feed a child.
Feeding mouth-to-mouth is normal in some cultures
One blogger interviewed about the incident pointed out that this practice is likely age-old. Parents today were grossed out, but they may not be thinking about the course of human history.
Today, parents usually buy their baby food in the supermarket. It comes liquefied already. More intrepid moms and dads may cook their own vegetables and blend them at home. But both of those processes involve modern technology and industry that wasn’t always available and isn’t available in all parts of the world.
In remote areas, parents don’t have access to store bought baby food, or to industrial appliances for puréeing food. So sometimes chewing it manually first is the safest and most effective way to feed a baby.
It’s still common in many parts of the world, even in the United States. Moms in East and South Asia still premasticate for their babies today, although that may be in part out of necessity. In the US, 1 in 7 caregivers says they’ve done it before. So while Silverstone’s video may seem weird and stomach-churning, moms everywhere do the same thing.
Feeding babies like Alicia Silverstone may have some health benefits
There are health negatives to premastication, according to the CDC. It may be a factor in the spread of HIV from a HIV+ mother to her HIV- child. It could also transfer bacteria that could lead to tooth decay, or other illnesses like strep throat. But there may be positives too.
Just like bacteria in breast milk may boost a baby’s immune system, some scientists theorize that bacteria in premasticated food could do the same. Other scientists think that’s unlikely. Still, others think that it could depend entirely on the food being given to the child.
Premasticating processed food, for example, probably is not protective. Although Silverstone’s video seems gross, it is important to understand that people have been pre-chewing food for centuries.
The first recorded mention of it is in 1025 A.D. No matter how a parent chooses to feed a child, mom-shaming is never okay. In the 1940s and 1950s, breastfeeding was often shamed. Now it’s recognized as a fine way to feed a baby. Maybe Silverstone is just ahead of her time.