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Alicia Silverstone's baby-feeding habits dangerous, experts say

March 28, 2012|By Rene Lynch

Alicia Silverstone's new video has much of America saying Ewwwwwww!

The "Clueless" actress who is known for her healthy, vegan cooking and animal rights activism, posted a video on her website Tuesday that shows her feeding her child. The clip has gone viral.

Why? It's all in her method as she seemingly takes her maternal nesting instinct to a new level.

The video shows her feeding her child Bear Blu like he's...a baby bird. She chews of his food and then -- how else to say this? -- deposits the masticated morsels in his mouth.

Now, before you chalk this up to some crazy Hollywood mommy trend (like "Mad Men's" January Jones telling People magazine she dines on her baby's placenta for strength), know that Sliverstone's practice is not all that unusual.

Many parents will admit to biting something -- say, a hot dog -- into smaller pieces when a fork and knife aren't handy to make sure their child won't choke. And way back when -- long before supermarkets and Gerber and Playtex -- people used premasticated food to transition children from mother's milk to solids.

In fact, some experts decry the trend away from premasticated food.

In a 2009 research paper entitled "Premastication: the second arm of infant and young child feeding for health and survival?" and published in the journal of "Maternal & Child Nutrition," experts said the practice helped boost a child's immunity. "Its abandonment, particularly in poor communities, has placed children at increased risk of inadequate nutrition and decreased ability to confront infections," researchers wrote.

But others are criticizing Silverstone, calling the practice dangerous. Swapping food from mouth to mouth puts kids at risk of catching a cold and can contribute to tooth decay, or worse.

"Word is Alicia Silverstone chews her food for her child. Don't follow in her footsteps," Delta Dental of Iowa tweeted this morning. "You can pass dental disease!"

"Bacteria are passed when items contaminated with saliva go into a child's mouth," the insurance company warned in a recent press release. "Most parents don’t know they can pass harmful bacteria from their mouth to their baby’s mouth, which can put their child at an increased risk for cavities."

Now, there are probably some of you out there wondering, "Why in the world would she post that video online?" Comedy writer Chase Mitchell thought the same, and tweeted thusly:

"We need a bold new strategy to get people talking about you again." -- Alicia Silverstone's publicist, yesterday morning

For her part, Silverstone says she loves feeding her 11-month-old this way, and you can see from the video above that he loves it too. "He literally crawls across the room to attack my mouth if I’m eating."

Now that may be something that will make much of America say Awwwwww.

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