Premastication: the second arm of infant and young child feeding for health and survival?

Maternal and Child Nutrition Vol/Iss. 6 Blackwell Publishing Ltd Published In Pages: 4-18
By Pelto, Gretel H., Zhang, Yuanyuan, Habicht, Jean-Pierre


This study asserts that premastication (the pre-chewing of food for infant feeding) has existed as a cross cultural human universal stemming from the post natal immaturity of infant development and their need to have nutritional supplements to breast milk before they develop the molars necessary to consume an adult diet. Hypotheses are informally tested by sampling 119 cultures from the eHRAf database and looking for frequency of premastication occurrence. About one-third with information on infant feeding mention pre-mastication.


Additional non-cross-cultural testing was utilized by researchers, who interviewed 104 students from a university in Beijing. This second test was done to demonstrate the potential missing information in the ethnographic record, as 63% percent of surveyed students mentioned having experienced premastication as children. This is a high frequency when compared with there being no reports of premastication from any of the 8 Han China ethnographies sampled.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
eHRAF World Cultures

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:noah.rossen