What are the health benefits of coconut water for babies? Are there any side effects?
Is coconut water safe for babies?
Can I give coconut water to my baby daily during summer?
Is coconut water good for toddlers?
When is the best time to give coconut water for my kid?
Want to give coconut water to your baby, but confused about a lot many things? Through this article I give you the complete insight on health benefit of coconut water for babies and kids.
Why coconut trees are called trees of life?
Just think of these places – Kerala, Goa and Thailand – what could you imagine?
Let me take a guess – greenery, scenic beauty, water and definitely the coconut trees!
Coconut tree belongs to the palm family. Every part of this tree like leaves, bark, fruits, flowers are useful in more than 1000 ways.
It is always called the ’Tree of Life’ as a single tree can give a man everything he requires for his survival – right from food, water, shelter, medicine etc.
This tropical tree is called ‘Kalpavriksham’or ‘Kalpavriskha’ – literally translated to –‘wish fulfilling trees’.
No wonder people who gets stranded on islands survive on just coconut trees isn’t? – The movie cast away featuring Tom Hanks can be cited as the best example for this.
Coconuts are the fruits of coconut tree. Again the flesh, water, husk and even the coconut shell are useful in various ways.
In Thailand, the tender flesh of coconut is given to babies as their first solid. You may also read about the 15 first foods for babies.
Facts about coconut water:
The nectar inside the interior cavity of coconut is called coconut water.
Some of the unknown facts about coconut water are as follows.
- Used for the emergency transfusion during World war II
- Used as a substitute for infant formula in the islands of Samoa
- Substitute for blood plasma
- Contains more potassium than most sports energy drinks
- Best anti ageing element
- Natural isotonic beverage
- Has twice the amount of potassium than banana
- Richest source of electrolytes
- Alternate intravenous solution due to salt and sugar content
- Can be used during both loose motion and constipation.
Coconut water, ilaneer or nariyal paani also known as ‘poor man’s soft drink’ is nature’s source of electrolyte. Sweet in taste, it is often the favorite drink of kids. But can babies drink coconut water?
15 Health benefits of coconut water for babies you didn’t know about:
Known as the ‘perfect food’, coconut water is rich in riboflavin, calcium, potassium, vitamin C, magnesium and manganese.
The other health benefits of coconut water for babies and kids are as follows.
#1. Best hydrating agent
Babies and kids are prone to heat stroke during summer. They often get dehydrated too.
Coconut water is the best cool drink for babies and kids during summer to combat the heat. Replace all the market brought drinks for kids with coconut water.
You can also read about the 7 tips for baby and toddler care during summer.
#2. Restores loss of salt during loose motion
During loose motion, the body loses a lot of water and minerals resulting in exhaustion. Coconut water restores the lost salts, water and minerals from the body when given during diarrhea or loose motion.
You can also read about the 25 foods during loose motion for babies and kids.
#3. Boosts immunity
Coconut water is rich in lauric acid, the component present in breast milk.
The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which has anti fungal, anti bacterial and anti viral properties. Thus it acts as an excellent immunity booster.
#4. Relieves from gastro intestinal infections
Coconut water can soothe gastro intestinal issues in kids and adults. It is widely used for the treatment of ulcers in adults.
You can also refer to the 9 home remedies to treat gas in babies and kids.
#5. Easily digestible
Though the flesh of coconut is hard to chew and digest by babies, coconut water is easily digestible.
#6. Treats Cholera
After the acute stage in cholera in children, coconut water is given to compensate for the loss of bodily fluids.
#7. Rare or no allergies
Though coconut milk can pose allergy for babies, coconut water gives no allergy reaction in babies. You can read about the signs and symptoms of food allergy in babies.
#8. Treats intestinal worms
During my childhood, I was given grated coconut along with castor oil to treat the intestinal worms and clean the tummy. Oh how much I hated that yuck concoction!
Though I would never recommend the same to babies or kids, you can safely use coconut water as it is capable of treating the intestinal worms and parasites in kids.
#9. Treats bilious fever in kids
Fever associated with nausea and frequent vomiting is known as bilious fever.
During this time, the baby or kid will reject even water resulting in dehydration. Coconut water is the best known treatment for bilious fever. It instantly energizes, refreshes and replenishes the body with adequate minerals.
Being sweeter in taste, most of the kids will accept it too.
Coconut water comes in its own tetrapack designed by nature making it sterile.
There is no need to worry about contamination or hygiene issues. This property makes it a perfect drink while travelling with kids.
#11. No added sugar
Coconut water contains no added sugar. Hence it’s the best alternative to store bought juices, cool drinks or colas.
#12. Rich source of fibre
In Ayurveda, coconut water is considered as a laxative.
A glass of coconut water has 2.6 grams of fibre which accounts to 11% of daily life requirements. This makes it an excellent food during constipation.
#13. Natural diuretic
The urinary tract infection in babies and kids can be reduced by giving coconut water.
Being a natural diuretic, coconut water increases urine flow and cools the body. It prevents formation of stones and promotes urine health.
#14. Effective in preventing prickly heat and rashes
Applying coconut water or bathing with coconut water can soothe the prickly heat and prevent itching.
You can also refer to the home remedies for prickly heat in babies and kids.
#15. Remedy for vomiting
Coconut water is a wonderful remedy for vomiting in children. It can soothe the tummy and prevents irritation.
Frequently asked questions about coconut water for babies and kids:
Still have doubts? Here are the answers to the frequently asked questions when it comes to coconut water for babies.
- Can I give raw coconut water to my 4 month old baby?
Babies up to 6 months do not need anything else than breast milk or formula to get hydrated.
- When not to give coconut water for babies?
Coconut water should not be given to babies during cold and cough.
- In what all ways can I give coconut water to my 8 month old?
For 8 month old baby, you can add coconut water in her rice, purees and porridges. You can also give a few teaspoons of coconut water.
For babies of 11 months and above with teeth, you can give the tender coconut flesh too in a mash consistency.
- How should I give coconut water to my baby – in bottle or cup?
Coconut water just like fruits contain sugar, so giving it in a bottle is not a good idea. You can give a few sips with the help of a teaspoon.
- Which is the best time to give coconut water?
If you are introducing coconut water to your baby, try it 2 hours after the lunch. Check for any reactions or cold.
- What are the precautions to be taken while giving coconut water to babies?
Always give fresh coconut water to babies and kids.
If you want to introduce coconut water to your baby, always start with 1 to 2 teaspoons during noon and check for reactions if any.
Never allow the baby/kid to gulp down the coconut water all in one go. Let them sip and drink it.
For older kids, its best to use a cup and straw for drinking coconut water. For toddlers of 1 year and above, the tender coconut flesh can be given.
- Can coconut water be allergic to my baby?
Though coconut milk may pose allergy, babies and kids rarely get allergies from coconut water. However you can keep a check for cold and cough while introducing coconut water to your baby.
- What is the quantity of coconut water required for a 6 month old baby?
For a 6 month old, you can start with 1-3 teaspoons of coconut water.
- Can I feed my baby refrigerated coconut water?
No. Always give coconut water at room temperature.
For older kids of 3 years and above, try making coconut water popsicles.
- What should be the precautions while buying coconut water from the market?
Look for the fresh tender coconuts as they will have sweet water and tender flesh.
Never buy the packaged coconut water from the vendors. Ask them to cut it open in front of you and give it to you fresh.
Refrain from buying packaged coconut water available in the super markets. It may have preservatives and the taste will also be different.
- Shall I buy packaged coconut water for babies and kids?
No – as far as possible!
If you do not have access to fresh coconuts, look for 100% natural refrigerated coconut water packets with the shelf life of just 1-2 days.
- How long the coconut water can be kept at room temperature?
Once opened, coconut water should be consumed within 10 minutes. With time, it ferments and turns sour due to the enzymatic activity.
- Can I give coconut water to my baby during cold and cough?
No. Avoid giving coconut water to your baby during bouts of cold, cough and congestion.
- Can I give coconut water during winter?
It is best to avoid coconut water during winters for baby.
- What is the best way to have kids drink coconut water?
Offer the coconut water in the shell with a funky straw to go with it – any kid would love to have it.
- Can I replace my baby’s drinking water with coconut water?
No. Coconut water should not be a replacement to the daily intake of water or food. It should only be an addition.
- Can I mix coconut water to my baby’s formula?
No. The floating coconut pieces in the coconut water might curdle the formula.
- What if my baby was fed a lot of coconut water in a day?
Do not give too much of coconut water in a day, as baby’s kidneys cannot handle the extra fluid load.
- My baby’s poop smelled like coconut water after introducing it to him. Is it normal?
Yes completely normal.
When given to babies of 6 months and above, coconut water can be beneficial as a natural energizer, coolant and medicine. But moderation is the key.
Coconut water should always be given as a supplement to the regular feedings of the baby. If not, they might reject food and breast milk. Moreover it may pose a heavy load on their kidneys.
Always go for freshly cut, green and tender coconuts. Stay away from prepackaged coconut water packets for babies and kids.
Hope this article on the health benefits of coconut water for babies and kids was useful.
Do you give coconut water to your baby? Is he or she fond of it?
If you have any other doubts regarding coconut water for babies, do share with me in comments.