Feeding a toddler is usually a straightforward process. Well, unless you're Clueless star Alicia Silverstone.
Her quirky way of feeding her 11-month-old son Bear Blu is nothing short of bizarre.
The actress and animal rights activist posted a video of herself feeding her son breakfast on her popular health food website, TheKindLife.com, last month.
First, she takes a spoonful of food, then she chews it and passes it open-mouth to her toddler - the way birds feed their chicks.
"I fed Bear the mochi and a tiny bit of veggies from the soup… from my mouth to his. It's his favourite... and mine," Silverstone wrote, reported Fox News.
"He literally crawls across the room to attack my mouth if I'm eating. This video was taken about a month or two ago when he was a bit wobbly. Now he is grabbing my mouth to get the food!"
The video, which was uploaded on YouTube, garnered some 1,750 "dislikes" and 379 "likes" as of last night.
Unhygienic? And this practice may not be such a great idea, said some medical and nutrition experts.
"It doesn't seem like a hygienic practice. Various viruses and bacteria, but especially herpes virus, may be passed from mother to baby," said Dr Jennifer Landa, chief medical officer of BodyLogicMD.
"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."
Dr William Schaffner, chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University, said it's not necessarily as unsanitary as it might seem, reported ABC News.
"For conventional germs, this is not a big issue. When we kiss our babies, the bugs that we all have resident in our mouths are likely to be transmitted to the baby," said Dr Schaffner.
But he said the practice becomes unsafe if the mother has an infection, such as hepatitis B, which could be transmitted to her baby.
In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specifically warns mothers with hepatitis B not to pre-chew food for their babies.
Ms Mira Jacob, deputy editor of parenting site Babble.com, said that while the concept itself isn't all that unique, it does come across as odd, reported Fox News.
"A lot of mums 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," Ms Jacob mused.
"There is nothing terribly wrong with it, it just looks really weird," she said.
On the flip side, Ms Heather Lounsbury, founder of LiveNaturalLiveWell.com, said Silverstone's baby would have already been exposed to anything she 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," said Ms Lounsbury.
"And it doesn't allow for the body to fight minor infections so it can fight more serious illnesses it maybe exposed to."
This article was first published in The New Paper.
Silverstone defends herself
Silverstone defends herself, calls it 'adorable'
Silverstone on her part says she has no regrets publicly displaying how she feeds her baby.
She was quizzed on her actions during a audience Q7A following a screening of the movie that made her famous, Clueless, and of her upcoming film Vamps.
She was asked if chewing her food and then passing it open-mouth to her son was in the spirit of Cher Horowitz, the ditzy character she played in Clueless.
In response, Silverstone launched into a lengthy defence of the practice. Speaking for the first time after sparking the controversy, she said the practice is "adorable" and that it makes her laugh.
She added that people have been feeding their children the same way for 'thousands' of years, and that it is a 'weaning process'.
"He attacks my mouth and I think it's adorable," she said. She told the audience that Bear also eats regular food and still breastfeeds.
She expressed disbelief that people find it disgusting, saying that it is "insane".
Silverstone also highlighted that she did not post the video as an example of how other parents should feed their kids. She felt it was "natural and lovely" and that the couple had received compliments on the method.