We are all well aware that breast milk is the best type of milk that will provide the babies the nourishment, vitamins, minerals and antibodies that they need to stay healthy and strong.
But what if you do not have enough milk supply or your baby is having some problems latching? If that’s the case, you go for the next best thing - milk formula.
But the sad thing is, there are some babies who are allergic to baby formula. Symptoms may include rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty of breathing, blood in stool and stomach cramps. If this is the case of your child, what’s left for you to do?
According to experts, there are plenty of milk alternatives for babies, and many of them would advise you to give coconut milk for babies. But is that a good idea? Well, the answer to that is what I would like to share with you in this article.
The Good and the Bad of Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is deemed to be one of the best milk alternatives for infants who are allergic to formula but is this the best option for your child? Can coconut milk provide your baby all the nutrients he needs? Before we answer that, let us first take a look at the nutritional benefits of the coconut milk.
According to Healthline.com, many experts advise the use of coconut milk for babies because of its high lauric acid content. This is one of the fatty acids that can also be found in breast milk and is sought after because of its ability to protect the body against bacteria and other types of infection.
In addition to this, coconut milk is also an excellent source of copper, niacin, and iron. It also has more potassium than dairy milk. More than that, it can be easily tolerated even by people with multiple allergies because it is free of soy and gluten.
But are these qualities enough to make coconut a great alternative for breast milk or formula? Before we answer that, we have to compare its nutritional content to that of dairy milk.
According to Ecowatch.com, a cup of dairy milk contains 8 g of protein, 100 calories and 300 mg of calcium while a cup of coconut milk contains only has 1 g of protein, 80 calories and 100 mg of calcium.
So you can see - even if it has its nutritional benefits, we still cannot deny the fact that it lacks the nutritional value that can be found in infant formula and breast milk. Because of this, we can say that it is not a very good idea to use coconut milk as a substitute for breastmilk or infant formula.
If that’s the case, what can you give to a lactose-intolerant baby? Many doctors would recommend giving your child a soy-based formula as it is the milk alternative that has nutritional value that comes closest to that of infant formula. But do keep in mind that there are some babies who are allergic to soy too so watch out for symptoms.
When to Give Coconut Milk
Since coconut milk also has benefits, you can give your coconut milk to your child. But they should not be treated as an infant formula alternative. They can be given as treats along with added supplements for your child.
But as much as possible, try to avoid giving coconut milk to babies under one year old as they should be getting all the nutrients that they need and they cannot get that from coconut milk.
So, when should you give coconut milk to babies?
According to studies, it is safe to give coconut milk to your baby after he has completed his first birthday period or after his first birthday.
Precautions to Keep in Mind When Giving Coconut Milk to Toddlers
If you think that it is time for your child to enjoy coconut milk, give it to him, but there are some precautions to keep in mind. Here are some of them:
Don't give your child so much.
Yes, coconut milk is good, but as we all know, too much of a good thing can also be bad. Keep in mind that coconut milk contains a high amount of saturated fats. In fact, a cup of coconut milk contains 57 grams of fat which is already 255% of the daily fat allowance of an adult.
Try to go homemade.
Yes, there are plenty of commercial coconut milk products in grocery stores and using them is a lot more convenient. In addition to that, these beverages are not pure coconut milk and are diluted with water, meaning they have less fat content.
However, these commercial products come with a disadvantage too—they contain thickeners and sweeteners that can be harmful to your child. If you wish to ensure the safety and health of your child, the best option that you have is to make your own coconut milk at home.
Yes, coconut milk has its nutritional benefits. But is it a good idea to give coconut milk for babies? No, it is not a good idea to use it as a substitute for breastmilk or infant formula because it lacks some of the essential nutrients that your baby needs.
You can, however, give coconut milk to your child when he already has completed his breastfeeding period or when he is already one year old, and he can already get his nutritional requirement from food items other than milk.
Do you have any questions about giving coconut milk to babies? Feel free to share it with me below! I would love to discuss it with you there!