Coconuts? Who can say no to coconut which have a creamy, tropical flavour?
Coconut products come in varieties these days from coconut water, oil, milk, tasty tender flesh, the shells of coconuts to steam food and do craft works.
Their husks which is used as a natural exfoliater and used for making ropes, their leaves used for making fences and roofs for their small huts and to make baskets.
Their sticks are used to make broom sticks and even the tender shoots of coconut tree (thennankuruthu) are eaten as snacks ! Oh gosh have we left anything out?
In India, especially South Kerala,almost every part of the coconut tree have been used lovingly by the people. It is called Kalpavriksha in sanskrit which means the “tree providing necessities of life”.
The water of tender coconut tastes so sweet and it have anti dehydration properties which replenishes electrolytes far more effectively than your average sports drink.
So now, Does it work out for babies as well? Can we give babies coconut products regularly? At what age? Can we substitute coconut milk instead of breast milk?
Coconut flesh, Coconut water,coconut milk, cooking with coconut oil, using coconut sugar, which is the best? Can we use canned coconut milk?
Life gets more questionable if you have a little kid in your home and even more curious when you are the one to take more responsibilities of your baby!
But life gets even more easier when you have answers to that questions which makes you a super mom!
Let’s find the answers for your questions!
1. Does Coconut Comes Under The Nut Category? Is It Allergic For Babies?
Coconut is not a botanical nut. It is classified as a fruit even though the food and drug administration recognises it as a tree nut.
They are notoriously tricky to classify. When you say, I don’t care whether it is a tree or nut! Does it cause any allergy for my baby?
No! Studies say that coconut allergy are even rarest for those who have nut allergies. People can safely consume coconuts.
Use a three day rule for your baby whether it works out well for your baby.
2. At What Age Should You Give Coconut Products For Your Baby?
- Coconut water can be given to infants after the first 6 months. This can be an addition to their diet.
- When you give coconut water to your baby below six months of age, there is a risk of developing allergic reactions.
- It is high in sodium and sugar content so it’s best to mix the coconut water with rice or diluting the coconut water with normal water.
- Sources tell that regular consumption of coconut water improves digestion and improves the absorption of nutrients. However,more research is to be done.
- Coconut water is rich in potassium so it may trigger hyperkalemia so it is best to be diluted with food or water. You don’t need to boil since it is sterile.
- As a general rule of milk except breast milk,you should wait until the age of 1 before introducing coconut milk or cow’s milk.
- Board certified Pediatrician Dr.Natasha Burgert advises that it is safe to give coconut milk after 1 year but it’s not preferred.
- Most pediatrician prefer offering a high fat content beverage like whole milk, to children from 1-2 years due to continued high rate of brain and body growth that toddlers experience.
Tender Coconut Flesh
- It is a jelly like, creamy soft flesh which can be fed to babies over six months if there is no risk of allergy. Follow the three day rule to look for any signs.
- Coconut flesh are particularly high in calories, saturated fat and fiber. It also contains a variety of minerals like manganese, copper, selenium, phosphorus, potassium and iron.
- It can be blended with fruits and vegetables and used as a natural sweetener for porridges and purees.
Can Coconut Milk Used As A Substitute For Breast Milk?
Definitely it is a No! There is simply no substitute for the complete nutrition a baby could get from breastmilk.
Studies suggest that even proteins present in cow’s milk are hard to digest in a baby’s tummy and they can even lead to iron deficiencies and severe dehydration.
Can We Give Canned Coconut Milk For Toddlers?
Too much consumption of canned coconut milk can turn out dangerous for your baby.
Canned coconut milk was high in saturated fats. It contains 10 times the saturated fat content of full fats cow milk!
Word of Caution
Commercial brands of coconut milk are diluted with water and contains less fat. They contain artificial sweeteners which parents must avoid but they are fortified with vitamin B12, Vitamin D, iron and calcium.
You can make your own coconut milk with grated coconut as it contains high amount of lauric acid which is also found in breast milk which is helpful to fight against bacteria and virus.
Cooking with coconut oil and milk also makes your food delicious. Every food is new adventure for your little one, a positive environment and make them to enjoy it!