What do you do when grandma's teeth won't let her chew her pugua' (betel nut) which she has had in her mouth every day for the last 70 years?
What do you do when the baby's still-developing mouth can't manage the herbal medicine prescribed by the local suruhåna?
You chew it for them first.
Premastication is as old as the hills. People have been doing it for as far back as we can tell, on ever continent in every race.
Even the birds do it. Mama bird making it easier for baby bird to eat the food she has found.
Besides breaking down the food mass into more manageable sizes for the baby, the salivary enzymes also start the digestive process before the food enters the child's mouth.
Saliva also contains good bacteria which helps the baby develop a robust immune system.
There are, of course, risks. There are also bad bacteria, and also diseases, which can be transferred from one mouth to the other, through saliva.
TWO DIFFERENT WORDS FOR THE SAME THING
Chamorros premasticated when someone in the family needed it done.
Our mañaina developed two different words for it, depending on who was the beneficiary.
When it was grandma, or grandpa, or someone toothless, who needed their mamå'un (pugua', pupulu amåska and åfok) pre-chewed for them, it is called ammi.
When it was a baby who needed food or herbal medicine pre-chewed for them, it was called mohmo.
AMMI - MOHMO
TINGO' I DIFERENSIA!