Celebrities have a tendency to be a little on the quirky side, but is "Clueless" star Alicia Silverstone’s unique method of feeding her 11-month-old son Bear Blu clever or, well, clueless?
The video shows the actress taking a spoonful of food, chewing it, and then passing it open-mouth to her little one.Which may not be such a great idea, say some medical and nutrition experts.
“There are those who think that a mom chewing a baby’s food provides helpful enzymes from her mouth but it doesn’t seem like a hygienic practice. Various viruses and bacteria, but especially herpes virus, may be passed from mother to baby,” Dr. Jennifer Landa, M.D Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “These microbes present a challenge that the infant’s immune system may not be ready for. So the practice is questionable for safety, and then, there’s a certain ick factor here that needs to be considered.”
Dallas-based family therapist Melody Brooke said the bigger question was whether it is appropriate, on a psychological level, for a toddler to be diving at their mom’s mouth for food. Mira Jacob, deputy editor of parenting site Babble.com, noted that while the concept itself isn’t all that unique, it does come across as – odd.
“A lot of moms chew a portion of their baby’s food; it’s often a very natural transition. But this just looks really funny, like Alicia is making out with her son,” Jacob mused. “There is nothing terribly wrong with it, it just looks really weird.”
Even JJ Virgin, Certified Nutrition Specialist and star of TLC’s “Freaky Eaters,” was a little freaked out.
“Sounds like she is taking eating like a bird to the extreme. While this could help predigest some of it as we start carbohydrate digestion in the mouth it could also pass along any bad oral bacteria she has too,” Virgin said. “I think a food processor and a spoon are a better bet!”
On the flipside, Heather Lounsbury, founder of LiveNaturalLiveWell.com said the Silverstone’s baby would have already been exposed to anything mom might have through being carried inside her and through her breast milk.
“I'm sure Alicia is brushing her teeth regularly as to not expose her baby to bacteria in her mouth. It is dangerous to try and live in a completely sterile environment, because it's impossible,” Lounsbury said. “And it doesn't allow for the body to fight minor infections so it can fight more serious illnesses it may be exposed to.”The interesting feeding approach has generated mostly positive reactions from Silverstone’s blog followers.
“I had never thought of this before but it's the cutest way of feeding yourbaby! I have a 7 month old and I think I will try this method...she is always trying to lick my mouth anyways might as well give her a reward,” commented one fan, while another wrote that it was “so sweet.”
Jackie Keller, executive chef of Los Angeles healthy food company NutriFitstill thinks such behavior would be better suited in the wild.“I've never seen anything like this – except in the animal world where birds and some other species pre-chew their offspring's food,” she added. “I wonder what benefit there could possibly be to the child and the mom? Certainly there is no scientific literature that I'm aware of that promotes this type of behavior among humans.”
A rep for Silverstone did not respond to a request for comment.