A mom has gone viral online after sharing her method of feeding her baby.
Alice Bender, 21, from the US state of Arizona caused a buzz with a TikTok video in which she showed the unusual method she uses to feed her baby.
Alice, mom to adorable baby Fern, and her husband regularly post videos about their lives and method to a vegan, holistic lifestyle with children.
In the short video shared in @comingupfern, which says “when people ask me why I feed my son like a bird”, Alice can be seen putting her one-year-old son Fern into his high chair where he excitedly waited for his lunch.
Alice then looks into the camera lip-syncing the popular song from the TV show Adventure Time, I’m just your problem.
As her child sits in their highchair, sporting an adorable deer-ear hat, she shows how she bites off small pieces of an apple and then spits them out in front of her son.
For Baby Fern, this seems normal. Little Fern eats the pieces of apple up with no hesitation and he happily puts the apple pieces into his mouth.
The controversial video quickly went viral, racking up over a million views, 103,000 reactions, and over 2,000 comments. The commenters of the video were completely divided on whether Alice’s feeding method was disgusting or perfectly normal.
“There are some things we do in our lives that shouldn’t be shared with the world,” one viewer said. “This is one of those things.”
“Why don’t you just cut the pieces off?” another one has added. “With a knife?”
“You’re transferring the bacteria on your mouth (which is cavity-causing bacteria because you’re older) into the baby’s,” a third one said. “Makes them more prone to cavities.”
However, some of them are impressed and loved the feeding technique, with several parents joining in to share their own experiences.
“Easier than cutting it, at least that’s why I do it,” one user said.
“Wait… All moms don’t do this??” another person said. “Lol.”
“All of y’all acting like this is new and confusing,” another one has added. “My parents did this and I’m pretty sure MOST do as well.”
Alice has also shared that she allows her son to eat “sticks, rocks, dirt, sand and unsensitized shopping carts”.
Alice explained in another TikTok video, “I do not fear bacteria. In fact, I welcome it. I trust nature and my baby – it is not a coincidence babies have this instinct while they are breastfeeding.”
The vegan mom has also shared that her son is “breastfed” and follows a vegan diet.
“He sleeps in my bed with me. Instead of forcing him to be on my sleep schedule, I follow along with his – so sometimes we are nocturnal,” she said. “We don’t do cry it out.”
“I bring him outside as often as possible with no sunscreen because we are not scared of the sun and he is healthy as f**k,” she added.
Doctor Christoph Specht, a General Practitioner, points out that our disgust at such scenarios is culturally learned.
In some regions of the world, like in parts of Papua New Guinea, pre-chewing food for children is still a normal practice today.
“This is mainly due to the fact that there is no baby food in these countries and the corresponding food – for example, fruit – has to be chopped up somehow,” he said.
From a cultural tradition, the mouth is still used instead of other tools to this day.
“This also has the advantage that the saliva already has a certain amount of digestion,” he added.
Premastication is a fancy way of saying “pre-chewing,” and it involves exactly that: A parent chews solid food to break it down for an infant or toddler before transferring it to his or her mouth.
A recent European study shows how saliva transfer from parents, such as would be expected to occur from premasticating food, might possibly translate into tangible health benefits for babies.
It was found that 18-month old babies whose moms cleaned dropped pacifiers by sucking on them (at least occasionally) were 12 percent and 37 percent less likely to have developed asthma and eczema, respectively, compared to babies whose moms dunked the pacifiers in boiling water or rinsed them.
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