You want to do everything you can to protect your baby’s health and well-being. Even if you’re able to give breast milk to your baby, you might want to supplement with other sources of nutrients, and for babies that can only eat formula, it’s even more important to find ways to boost your little one’s nutrient intake. Many parents turn to coconut water as a solution, and there are a variety of benefits and possible detractors to this approach that you should be aware of before you proceed.
Is Coconut Water Good for Babies?
A coconut water craze is currently sweeping the nation, and people everywhere are turning to this natural substance as a source of nutrients. Coconut water is essentially the same thing as coconut milk, but while coconut milk is taken from the insides of ripened coconuts, coconut water is derived from coconuts that haven’t yet reached peak ripeness.
Coconut water is almost 95% water, but it also contains around 4% carbohydrates and trace amounts of protein and various micronutrients. For parents who are looking for a safe, simple substance that they can give to their babies for nutritional purposes, coconut water is an obvious match, and the minor risks associated with consuming coconut water aren’t significant enough to deter parents from supplementing their favorite organic formula brand with daily coconut water feedings.
Babies generally find coconut water to be delicious, and there’s no denying that this simple, natural liquid contains essential nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, and potassium. Vitamins and minerals are often more bioavailable in their naturally-occurring forms, which makes coconut water a better source of certain essential nutrients than supplements or nutrient-fortified foods.
Since it’s almost entirely composed of water, coconut water is a great tool for keeping your baby properly hydrated, and while there’s certainly a right way and a wrong way to feed your baby coconut water, this substance is generally considered to be safe. Remember that the way coconut water is produced significantly affects its quality and safety; always choose non-GMO, organic coconut water that’s made by a brand you can trust.
When Should Your Baby Start Drinking Coconut Water?
Babies shouldn’t consume anything other than breast milk or infant formula for at least the first four months of life. There’s a significant controversy surrounding the subject of when to start feeding babies other substances, and some experts say that four-month-olds can start consuming food and water while other sources suggest you wait until your little one is at least eight months old. Generally, it should be safe to start feeding your baby substances like water or coconut water once your little one is between six and eight months old, but always consult with your pediatrician before you change your baby’s diet.
Since coconut water is almost entirely water, it might be one of the first substances other than breast milk or formula that you choose to feed to your baby. To get a better idea of when to start feeding coconut water to your baby, ask other parents, or check out some online parenting forums.
Is Coconut Water Dangerous for Babies?
Whenever you feed anything other than breast milk or formula to a baby under six months old, you run the risk of harming your little one’s digestive system. In addition, food allergies are more common in infants, so make sure that you start off by feeding your baby a tiny amount of coconut water to identify any symptoms of coconut allergy.
You also shouldn’t rely on coconut too much as you find ways to keep your baby properly fed. This substance contains high levels of sodium, which can cause dehydration and other health issues. Also, one case study showed that it’s possible to develop potassium toxicity if you consume a large amount of coconut water at once, but to reach the levels that caused toxicity in this study, you’d have to feed coconut to your baby on a nearly constant basis.
As long as you take the proper measures to make sure your baby isn’t allergic to coconut water and wait to feed this substance to your baby until your little one has reached the proper age, there aren’t any significant risks associated with coconut water. Always consult with your pediatrician, however, before you feed coconut water to your baby.
What Are the Benefits of Coconut Water for Babies?
Babies love the taste of coconut water, and there are plenty of other reasons to feed this simple, natural substance to your little one as well. Here are some of the top benefits of coconut water for babies:
1. Great Source of Nutrients
Coconut water contains lots of vitamins and minerals, and these nutrients are in their natural forms, which leads to increased absorption rates.
2. May Have Antioxidant Properties
Some of the nutrients in coconut water, including vitamin C and manganese, are believed to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that reduce levels of free radicals in your body, which leads to better cellular health and healthy development in babies.
3. Excellent Hydration Source
When your child is still an infant, your little one can get most of the hydration necessary for healthy development from breast milk or formula. As your child develops, however, you’ll need to provide your baby with hydration from other sources as well, and due to its high water content, coconut water is an excellent source of hydration for babies.
How to Feed Your Baby Coconut Water
You can give your baby coconut water in a sippy cup or feed this liquid to your baby with a straw. Fresh coconut water is always better than packaged coconut water, but if you have to choose packaged coconut water, just make sure that your beverage doesn’t contain any nasty preservatives or other toxic substances.