A throng of websites and bloggers immediately lambasted her for "unsanitary" behavior. Days later, commentary has cooled some, with a even a few experts making an argument for the unorthodox practice.
A video clip Alicia posted to her blog set the frenzy in motion. The YouTube clip can be seen here:
My first reaction to this is that I am a mother and I try not to judge other mothers. This isn't illegal or abusive or even mean. It's just a kinda weird for some people.
I am still nursing a fourteen month-old and plenty of people have an opinion about that. I can assure you, Mairin sees nothing wrong with it.
As for kiss feeding (or what is actually referred to as pre-mastication) I like the other side of the discussion in defense of the practice. For example, author Natalie Wolchover is happy to point out a few facts about pre-mastication in her piece Should You Chew Your Baby's Food Like Alicia Silverstone? She writes:
"Babies start requiring non-milk food in their diets at six months old, but they don't develop the molars they need to chew most foods until age 18 to 24 months. According to research led by Gretel Pelto, an anthropologist at Cornell University, pre-mastication was the solution to feeding infants during this interim period for most of human history, and remains the method used in many cultures today. Rather than being unhygienic, Pelto and many other scientists think the feeding method carries on the immune-system-building process that begins with breastfeeding. By exposing infants to traces of disease pathogens present in a mother's saliva, it gears up their production of antibodies, teaching their immune systems how to deal with those same pathogens later."
Read the full article here.
As the article suggests, maybe dear Alicia is just ahead of the curve in finding "natural" ways to keep our kids happy and healthy. Or, maybe she's a simple nut. Either way, she's a mom and is doing what she feels is best for her baby that she's obviously head-over-heels in love with.
Who are we to judge?