Premastication is the practice of a mother pre-chewing food before feeding it, mouth-to-mouth, to her baby. While germophobic Western society eschews this practice, it is not only common in the developing world, but provides benefits to a developing baby. Babies are not born with digestive bacteria; they get some from passing through the birth canal, but continue to encounter the beneficial bacteria during breastfeeding and while being handled, in general, by adults. Throughout most of human history, in fact, babies have received disease-fighting antibodies and digestive bacteria from the mother’s saliva, transmitted via premasticated food. In some cultures, fathers also premasticate food for babies; sometimes even entire family groups will do this— a toddler at a family meal might wander from person to person, being fed by many adults.Consider each of the answer choices separately and indicate all that apply.
Based on the information in the passage, the author of the passage would most likely agree that
- Germophobia can contribute to depriving babies of a health benefit.
- Premasticating food for babies is done only in the developing world.
- Adult saliva has benefits for babies in addition to the transmission of beneficial digestive bacteria.
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