Vegan mother, 22, reveals she lets her baby, 8 months, chew sand and rocks and lick shopping cart straps because germs are good for his immune system and her breast milk is ‘medicine’
- Alice Bender, from Phoenix, Arizona, lets her eight-months old son eat sand
- She said children shouldn’t be afraid of germs while they are breast-feeding
- She said it was a way for the baby to develop his immune system safely
A vegan mother films her baby chomping on sand, dirt, rocks and even supermarket shopping trolley straps – as she claims her breast milk protects the tot while he ‘builds his immune system’.
Alice Bender, from Phoenix, Arizona, shared footage of eight-month-old baby Fern chewing on various objects on TikTok including sand while at the beach and even her handing him a brown rock, which he puts in his mouth straight away.
The 22-year-old, who raises her son as a vegan, defended her parenting style by insisting that germs are nothing to be afraid of – and that it’s natural for babies to want to eat sand.
In the video, which has been viewed more than 12million views on Tik-Tok, Alice blamed a ‘series of billion dollar campaigns’ in Western medicine over the last 200 years for ‘shifting the public’s perspective’ on bacteria and babies.
Vegan mother Alice Bender, 22, from Phoenix, Arizona, went viral after revealing online she let her son Fern, eight-months-old, eat sand and suck on rocks (pictured together)
Sharing videos of Fern eating sand and dirt on TikTok (pictured) Alice said she let him eat anything and was exclusively breast-feeding him
Alice says: ‘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 housewife strongly believes that babies should expose themselves to germs – so long as they are breastfeeding.
Alice said: ‘Babies only have this instinct while they are breastfeeding for a reason. Our milk is there to protect them while they build their immune system.
‘Breast milk is incredible. Breast milk is the original medicine. It is far superior to any man-made medicine.
The mother said she wouldn’t let Fern suck on rocks (pictured) if he wasn’t breastfed, because her breast-milk was made to protect him against infection and germs
‘Breast milk is alive and constantly changing to meet our babies’ current needs.
‘I would not want Fern to continue doing this after we’re done breastfeeding, because there would be nothing for him to fall back on if he were to get sick.’
Alice incorporates her holistic views on life into all aspects of her parenting.
Alice said: ‘Looking into the pharmaceutical industry as a whole made me realize so much of our society is built on us remaining customers to pharma.
‘I think we all need to take a good look at our preconceived notions about health and figure out what made us this way.
Alice, pictured left, said she was not afraid of bacteria and trusted nature, and even let Fern lick shopping trolley straps, right
Alice, pictured with Fern, said her son was extremely healthy and the chunkiest baby of the family
‘We should not be at a war with nature. We are nature. I’ve noticed Fern is incredibly healthy compared to other babies.
‘He is the first chunky baby in our immediate family. People always compliment us on how healthy, calm, and alert he is when we’re in public.’
People online have had very polarized opinions on Alice’s parenting style and took to the comments of her video to share their thoughts.
‘My baby, unfortunately, isn’t exclusively breastfed but I don’t shelter him from dirt and shopping carts either. Eight months and totally healthy,’ one said.
The mother-of-one said breast-milk was ‘the original medicine’ and that there was a reason why babies wanted to eat sand and dirt while they were breastfeeding (pictured: Fern eating dirt)
Alice said she believed in the natural benefits of her breast-milk, and didn’t feel Fern anything else (pictured)
The mother-of-one said Fern was ‘healthier’ than other babies and said people shouldn’t be ‘at war with nature’
Another shared this sentiment and commented: ‘This is how babies build their immune systems! Go mom!”
Others completely disagreed with Alice’s parenting methods and made their feelings known.
‘Are you not worried about parasites? What would you do to protect him from the possibility of getting them by eating dirt?’ one asked.
‘Dirt won’t hurt, but letting them bite the belt from the grocery store? Nah,’ said another.
‘All fun and games till the baby gets a parasitic infection,’ one said.
Fern, pictured playing, left and eating sand, right, is a ‘healthy calm, and alert baby’ according to his mother
Alice said she felt Western medicine had been taken over by pharmaceutical companies, and wants a more holistic way of life (pictured with Fern)
Proud mother Alice said Fern was the chunkiest baby of her family, and said it was due to the fact he was totally breastfed
Snack time! Alice shared videos of Fern eating wet sand and ditt at the playground in a video for TikTok
‘I understand building their immune system but what about the sticks and sand cutting up his stomach,’ one wrote.
One added: ‘I worry for the future of our country.’
According to the Mayo Clinic, breast milk has numerous advantages that benefit infants up into adulthood, including protecting them from infections.
‘Breast milk contains the right balance of nutrients for your baby. Breast milk is easier than commercial formula for your baby to digest, and the antibodies in breast milk boost your baby’s immune system,’ the Clinic wrote on its website.
‘Breast-feeding might even help you lose weight after the baby is born,’ they added.
A 2016 book called ‘Let Them Eat Dirt’ made the case that children should play in the dirt and even eat it.
The book, written by Brett Finlay and Marie-Claire Arrietta, two University of British Columbia researchers, argued that maintaining contact with bacteria can help children develop healthy immune systems.
Another book released in 2017, ‘Dirt Is Good’ written by researchers from the University of San Diego, Jack Gilbert and Robert Knight, came to similar conclusions.
However, they stipulated that children with compromised immune systems and open cuts should avoid playing and eating dirt.
Alice’s video divided opinion. Some thought she was right and that her son was just developing his immune system. Others said he could get seriously hurt
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