Written by Editorial Team
Coconut water is an excellent, affordable, and readily available source of essential vitamins and minerals such as Calcium, Riboflavin, vitamin C, Potassium, Manganese, and Magnesium. It has umpteen medicinal properties and provides relief from gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers, diarrhea, indigestion, flatulence, vomiting in babies, and is often called a ‘perfect food’ as well. This article touches upon the safety, benefits, and risks of giving coconut water to babies.
Coconut water is a naturally occurring fluid that possesses antimicrobial properties, is helpful in treating urinary tract infections, and other conditions such as bilious fever. The ancient science of Ayurveda claims that giving coconut water to babies can act as a laxative and help prevent vomiting, though evidence through scientific studies lacks in this field. In fact, coconut water is highly beneficial for both the mother and the baby.
No, though it is coconut, it does not qualify to be from a family of nuts and seeds. It grows on coconut trees, is a part of the palm family, and is a palm fruit. It has multiple layers. The outer layer has thick and dense light-brown or green fibers, and the inner layer is an oval-shaped fruit.
This fruit has water and pulp; the younger the coconut, the more water it contains. The whole coconut tree has many purposes too. For this reason, the coconut tree is also known as ‘Kalpa Vriksha’ which means it has all the essential necessities for sustaining life. It is also called the ‘tree of life’ in the Pacific islands.
There is very little fat in coconut water, and it contains 94% water. It is also rich in antioxidants and electrolytes. Coconut water contains 57.6 mg of calcium per cup (240g), so it can help strengthen your bones and teeth. It also contains approximately 10 grams of carbohydrate, nearly all of which is naturally occurring sugar.
Is it ok to give coconut water to babies? Yes, it is! Coconut is not only a good source of various minerals and vitamins but is also rich in lauric acid. Lauric acid – the same ingredient found in breast milk makes coconut water easily digestible for your little one and increases their immunity. Their body converts lauric acid to monolaurin, which has antibacterial and anti-viral properties. These properties help in combating gastrointestinal infections. Giving coconut water to babies (just one cup every day) can relieve baby constipation.
Sometimes, the tender flesh from young coconuts is mixed with bananas and given to babies to avoid constipation. Tender coconut water for babies acts as a natural laxative and is an excellent remedy for indigestion and dysentery. Remember, giving coconut water to babies is only second to the best hydrating drink in the world- water.
It is best to introduce coconut water to your babies once they cross the six-month milestone. Usually, infants below six months do not need anything else other than breast milk. For this reason, they should not be given coconut water. The timeline should be somewhere between 6 and 8 months when the baby started on solids quite comfortably.
Coconut can be used in various forms such as coconut oil, water, desiccated, and chopped. Coconut flesh, even the grated version, can be hard to digest for your little one. Hence, you must give only coconut water to your little ones. It not only enhances flavor, aroma, and taste but also facilitates digestion. You can use coconut water in the following ways for your baby.
Some people suggest giving coconut water to babies by mixing it with formula instead of plain water. This may be OK,, but you must always check with your pediatrician before doing it. In Thailand, for example, the first solid food that a baby tastes is coconut flesh, made to a custard-like consistency. Some people also recommend substituting coconut milk for baby formula. In fact, some countries use coconut milk as an alternative to baby formula. Again, we strictly suggest that you check out with your pediatrician before feeding your baby coconut milk instead of formula.
If your baby does not have any allergies, it should be fine to give coconut water to babies. It is natural and has no added sugar. Some amazing health benefits of coconut water for babies are:
There are no known side effects to giving coconut water to babies, unless your baby develops an allergy to it – which is quite rare. There are very rare cases of people developing allergic reactions to coconut water, and this was evident only in those sensitive to tree nuts. For this reason, you must introduce coconut water slowly and gradually to babies. Avoid introducing too many new foods at the same time. This way you can identify which foods are suiting them and which are not. And follow the tips below on selecting fresh coconut water for your baby. Coconut water for babies is a high source of potassium, so you need to keep a check on other substances containing potassium, such as a banana so that you don’t feed them excess potassium.
It is advisable not to give coconut water to babies in the winters or if your baby is suffering from a cold or flu. Though it is used as a remedy to treat cold and flu in adults, it is not recommended for babies.
Coconut water is a natural beverage loaded with everything healthy. Here are a few tips to feed coconut water to babies.
Good news for nursing mothers: due to the resemblance of immunity-boosting ingredients (lauric acid) present both in coconut water and breast milk, it’s recommended for nursing mothers to drink coconut water. And we all know the dangers which aerated, fizzy drinks pose to our children’s health that contains just empty calories! So say goodbye to the packaged fruit juices claiming all the goodness and beat the heat this summer, the natural way – say yes to coconut water for babies!
No, you cannot. Babies under 6 months of age are advised to be on an exclusive milk diet. Do not start coconut water until they are older.
Yes, as long as it is a small cup. As your baby grows, you may increase the quantity. Coconut water has a laxative effect, so you need to be careful.
Coconut water is an excellent source to bring down body heat. If your baby is suffering from body heat and ulcers, this can be a good remedy. Do check with your pediatrician too.
Do consult your pediatrician first. Mixing it with formula might cause some imbalance. Giving fresh coconut water is the best option.
With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.
Jan 13, 2016
Coconut is a wonder food and has many health benefits for infants. Few include supply of essential vitamins, minerals and electrolytes, treats gastrointestinal diseases, useful in treating cholera, improves constipation in children, effective in treating diarrhea in babies, possesses antimicrobial properties, can treat urinary tract infections and acts as a remedy for bilious fever.
Jul 06, 2015
It has not been specifically mentioned about the time of taking the coconut water. Please advise whether in empty stomach or any time of the day.
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