May 10, 2012

Premastication: Bird Feeding Baby?

I recently caught part of an interview with Alicia Silverstone defending a video she posted on YouTube of her bird feeding her baby. Premastication or bird feeding is, as I'm sure you have already guessed, the act of chewing up food and then feeding it to your baby either by dropping it directly in their mouths or with your fingers.

Apparently the video received a lot of attention and a lot of negative feed back. I guess I'm a little surprised that it was made into such a big controversy. I have never fed my son my chewed up food, but I guess I didn't think it was that uncommon or really that big of a deal.

I understand it seeming unsanitary because of the bacteria in a person's mouth, but Alicia Silverstone is a nursing mother so one would assume that her baby has already been exposed to those germs and protected because of the antibodies in breast milk so I doubt it is going to make this child sick or cause any harm.

I do wonder though, if this is the primary way of feeding a baby for some parents, would it have an effect on the development of skills that children learn while learning to self feed?

Then, of course, there's just the thought that you can offer soft foods or make your own purees rather than chew up food for your baby.

But I also wonder, are children who are fed this way more open to trying new foods and more interested in the foods because of the very direct involvement of a parent in the process?

It seems like there may be both pros and cons for premastication or bird feeding and I'm sure there are a lot of people who do this at least some of the time. 

What are your thoughts on bird feeding with Infants?


  1. I did it with both my kids. I used my fingers, not my mouth, but I stopped after they were old enough to eat with utensils.

    I didn't do it with every food though, just ones that were harder to chew, like beef and chicken. For example tonight we had salmon steaks for dinner. I chewed through each piece I fed my son feeling for bones before I fed it to him.

    I feel that this is fundamentally different than bird feeding a toddler however. I think it would get in the way of mastering important social skills like table manners and eating with utensils.

    1. That's a good point Savannah. I think if it is done with infants who also have the opportunity to try eating foods on their own, there should be no developmental set backs.

  2. Hi Kelsie and Savannah,

    My name is Kaitlin, and I am a journalist working on a piece about the benefits of pre-chewing food. I was wondering if I might be able to ask you a few questions. Please let me know if you have time to chat!




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