Social Question

SuperMouse's avatar

Does Alicia Silverstone's method of feeding her son border on child abuse?

Asked by SuperMouse (30801points) March 28th, 2012

It seems that actress Alicia Silverstone feeds her young son in a manner similar to that of a mother bird feeding her hatchlings. We know this because Ms. Silverstone has put a video of herself doing so online. What do you think of this unique feeding method? Does it border slightly on child abuse?

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55 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

No. On the contrary, it is great for bonding and immune system training.

Trillian's avatar

I know nothing of the potential benefits of this, though since it happens in nature it seems a fairly safe bet that it’s ok. I defer to @ragingloli‘s greater expertise in this area. It remains to be seen how the child feels about it as he grows older.
Maybe the feeding in and of itself isn’t a problem so much as the continual invasion of privacy condoned and enabled by his care giver should be more of an issue. As yet he’s probably unaware of how many eyes are on him, but at some point that’s going to change. I’m fairly sure that there have not been any studies done which measure the effects of such continual exposure to the public as the hapless children of celebrities are exposed to, but one can fairly guess that they must be profound.

dappled_leaves's avatar

What is she thinking? She has branded both of them as freaks. Doesn’t she think this method is going to have any impact on his psyche?

ragingloli's avatar

@dappled_leaves
Not more than putting a tit in his mouth.

bkcunningham's avatar

I don’t think it is any form of child abuse. Apparently, she is a vegan and she is pre-chewing his food. I’ve never done the mouth-to-mouth feeding method, but I’ve taken tiny bites and given to babies and toddlers. I don’t think I’ve “chewed” the food though. Are my teeth and lips, from biting, cleaner than the inside of my mouth? I dunno. It looked strange though and the thought is weird, but maybe it really isn’t that crazy when you think about it in regards to the other things that a mother does for her child or the other things kids stick in their mouths.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Meh. I can think of quite few people who’d volunteer for that kind of feeding.

Putting it on the internet is another matter. But it’s good for her career so…

cookieman's avatar

If you really need your babies chopped up that finely, buy a flippin’ Cuisinart.

SuperMouse's avatar

Here is some information on the benefits/drawbacks of pre-chewing food for babies.

marinelife's avatar

It is totally unnecessary in this day and age.

Bill1939's avatar

I appreciate SuperMouse’s link. I had thought the practice harmless.

Keep_on_running's avatar

No, but just why the hell would you do that?

OpryLeigh's avatar

I feel sorry for the kid because, in later years, his school friends are bound to find out about this video and ridicule him senseless! I’m not a parent so I try not to judge other parents methods but for crying out loud, don’t do something that could cause your kids grief when they’re a teenager (are you listening Gwenyth Paltrow? Calling your kid Apple was mean.)

Sunny2's avatar

Me thinks Ms Silverstone seeketh publicity.

JustPlainBarb's avatar

I think she’s doing this to mainly just make a statement. Personally, I think it’s very odd and there are much better ways to care for your child’s nutritional needs. I think this is more about HER needs.

Keep_on_running's avatar

This and the placenta question have reaffirmed my decision to not have kids.

janbb's avatar

@Keep_on_running It reinforced my decision to not have lunch!

Keep_on_running's avatar

@janbb Yeah, that’d make more sense.

zensky's avatar

It coincides with her book the Kind Diet.

I’d think little of it if she hadn’t posted the youtube. Now I feel sorry for the kid.

ucme's avatar

No, but it is bloody daft. Makes them look like seagulls, I bet she has him shitting over a cliff as well.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@janbb Haha!

I can’t help but feel that this kid is going to hate her for this when he grows up. Also, not that it should matter, but if this were a girl I think I would be even more horrified. Her classmates would be merciless.

FutureMemory's avatar

@dappled_leaves Why would that make it worse?

Coloma's avatar

Just another crazy fad that a celebrity has picked up on. Leave regurgitation for Hyenas and birds. Oh brother, people and their insanity.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Oh dear God. Craziness. Just craziness.

Coloma's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Seriously! Yep, I can see the home video now in 16 years…” and here’s mommy chewing your muffin for you…awwwww” Poor kid. :-/

Aethelwine's avatar

Her child is 11 months old. He needs to learn how to use his fingers to feed himself at this age.
Birds don’t have fingers, but children do. I don’t get it.

Alicia = fail

SuperMouse's avatar

@jonsblond your post made me picture a 17 year-old boy asking his date to chew his food, or worse yet, bringing his mom on a date to chew for him. Ewwww!

janbb's avatar

Funny they don’t look Chewish!

Aethelwine's avatar

@SuperMouse and @janbb You two are so funny. I almost spit my food out, but there was no baby around to catch it.

FutureMemory's avatar

@jonsblond I laughed out loud, loudly :D

flutherother's avatar

It’s hardly necessary in this day and age and why would you want to tell the world about it? It strikes me as a bit weird.

Coloma's avatar

@flutherother Yeah, kinda makes breast feeding in public not even a remote concern. lolol
Would there be special areas in public places for this new phenomenon?
“Regurgitation stations” for pre-chewing mothers?

Jude's avatar

Your second link isn’t working for me.

Jude's avatar

Found it online.

She’s a quack (no disrespect to birds). It’s unnecessary.

YARNLADY's avatar

In some societies it used to be common for caregivers (daughters) to chew the food for their elderly parents.

Trillian's avatar

Hehehehe @Coloma they’d have to designate separate stations for “relations” and “evacuations” HAHAHAHAHAHA!

6rant6's avatar

I think our human brains are wired to behave differently with children. However, that does not preclude someone with a brain wired more to resemble an avian one thinking this a good idea.

Worms anyone?

SuperMouse's avatar

@YARNLADY I would invest in one of these long before the idea of chewing anyone’s food crossed my mind.

FYI, I am working on the reference desk tonight so I decided to see what I could find out about caregivers chewing food for their elderly parents. I plugged in at least 20 different search strings, including the exact wording you used, and did not get a single hit.

Akua's avatar

Do I think she is wrong for feeding her child this way? No. Maybe it’s cultural but I did this with my children and I know many other women that did too. It’s no different than breastfeeding. Yes I had a food processor but this was healthier and faster. When I was eating a meal my children sat right on my lap and I would put some of whatever was in my mouth in their mouths. I don’t think she should have advertised it and made the video because that just opened herself up to a lot of critisizm weather she did it for publicity or not, people will always find a reason to think the worst.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Akua do you mind sharing why you decided to do this and why it is healthier? I promise that question means no disrespect.

SuperMouse's avatar

So @Akua‘s post inspired me and I did a bit more research and it turns out the term for this is premastication and here in the United States there are some parts of New York City where it is common. The approximately 20% of moms who said they use the method used it as a way to supplement meals for children weaning off breast milk. There is also information saying that without this method some children are at risk for starvation.

It is seemingly also somewhat common in vegan circles (Alicia Silverstone is a vegan) where it is thought to provide the child healthy enzymes they wouldn’t get otherwise.

The chief concerns about this seem to be the passing diseases such as HIV or herpes from an infected mother to child. There are also concerns about other pathogens being passed along with bacteria that causes cavities.

This thread has taught me a lot! Thanks for you post @Akua!

Source
Source

bkcunningham's avatar

You guys are on a roll tonight. Too funny, @janbb. chewish

Akua's avatar

Thanks for the support @SuperMouse. Up until now reading the posts from other people I never gave what I did a second thought. I read hubby some of the posts and he was even surprised. We all grew up in households/communities where not only was this acceptable but it was expected. We all grew this way. It was even the norm for a grandmother/Aunt/close family friend to feed another persons child this way (breastfeeding too: See Salma Hayak breastfeeding an african baby). We were taught this prevented choking, was a healthy transition from breast milk and gave the baby healthy anti-bodies against disease. It’s also said to prevent food allergies because the food is more easily digested. When all the bottle fed babies were getting free WIC (women, infant and children) supplements through state programs, my babies didn’t qualify because they were so healthy. My children have never caught colds or flu. This topic brings to mind how during certain times in history doctors and society pushed bottles and formula on new mothers saying that breast milk was unclean and it wasnt healthy. Breastfeeding was looked at as something only poor people did and was seen as uncivilized. Thank you for taking the time to read up on the practice and see it objectively.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Akua I was going to send this via p.m. but decided to do it here instead. I apologize for the tone of some my posts up-thread. I’m glad you took the time to answer and that I took the time to get more information.

6rant6's avatar

Huh. Live and learn.

filmfann's avatar

If I was the baby I would lawyer-up and legally force her to breast feed me.
I’m not her child, and I’m thinking about it!

fluthernutter's avatar

I haven’t done this myself. But I don’t see what the big deal is though?

It’s not like everyone in the world has a Beaba, Cuisinart or even a blender. Or access to premade baby food in jars. And who’s to say that’s even that great for them? Even the organic stuff isn’t fresh. It’s been hanging out on the shelf.

Besides antibodies and enzymes, pre-chewing stuff lets you adjust to different ages. Here, you just go from mush to solids.

Everything here is sterilized and censored. From breastfeeding to dying.

That’s just life, people.

rooeytoo's avatar

I just wonder at what point in time the kid will learn to chew its own food? 11 months sounds like it should be starting to eat real food and use their teeth.

But yeah, bottom line is who cares what she does but why oh why put it on youtube!!! Egomania and the quest for publicity of any kind would be my guess.

YARNLADY's avatar

@SuperMouse This is one source, but I was referring to a tradition of the Choctaw people.

FutureMemory's avatar

why oh why put it on youtube!!!

Being a celebrity, maybe she subscribes to the idea that any publicity is better than none at all. I mean, I don’t really follow Hollywood, but she’s not exactly a huge star at the moment, right?

Akua's avatar

@rooeytoo The child does learn to chew food on his/her own gradually. As time passes you chew the food less and less for them breaking it down in your own mouth in bigger chunks. The younger the baby the more you chew. Pretty much the same concept of baby food manufacturers that sell baby food in “stages”. Stage 3 or 4 jars have bigger pieces. @YARNLADY very true. That’s why I said it is probably cultural because most of the people I know that do this are of African and Indiginous (Native Indian) backgrounds. I have never seen or heard of people of European ancestry doing this. But in this day and age it seems to have become very popular with them as well. My family is of African and Native American ancestry. My grandmother was born on a reservation in South Carolina and my grandfather is Haitian.
@FutureMemory Yes, I’m sure she did it to shock people and get some publicity.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Akua do you also begin introducing finger foods as you baby grows?

Akua's avatar

Yes @SuperMouse finger food are encouraged. We don’t reject other ways to get proper nutrition in preference of others. My daughter breastfed for 4 years and my son for 2 years. When they started to teeth I began giving small amounts of food from my mouth chewing it less as they grew and the teeth came in but I was still breastfeeding. When they started reaching for food on my plate and had enough teeth I began supplementing with soft finger foods like a baked potatoe skin (skin removed), steamed veggies, biscuits (cookie) and occasionally even cheerios or corn puffs. The baby determined what they are ready for and when they were able to move on to the next step. I didn’t wean them off the breast they weaned themselves. When they decided they didn’t want the breastmilk or pre-chewed food anymore they just stopped reaching for it. To this day my 17 year old autistic daughter will prefer to eat off my plate rather than have her own (but I don’t chew it for her anymore). I think the way I fed and raised her helped her bond and feel secure. And when she comes home from school to visit she still prefers to sleep with us. It’s really all a lifestyle choice.

rooeytoo's avatar

I have never seen the aboriginal people of Australia use the method, maybe in the old days, but not in modern times.

When the baby is old enough to to decide for itself whether it wants its food premasticated, then allow it to make the choice! In the meantime, I would prefer to use the blender and make my own natural foods.

6rant6's avatar

@rooeytoo “use the blender and make my own natural foods” Well at least we can be sure your child is getting plenty of irony in his/her diet.

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