Coconut Milk for Babies

 

Since ancient times coconut has been hailed as a magic fruit. Even today, coconut is used for its many wonderful properties. Every part of the coconut is useful. Coconut water is drunk by yoga enthusiasts as an energy drink; the outer husk is used to make ropes; the tasty fruit inside is loved by kids and adults alike.

However, it is the milk of the coconut that is most useful. From use in curries to medicinal use, this milk has a lot of properties that make it useful for a variety of purposes. Coconut milk for babies is a hotly debated topic. While some believe that coconut milk is indeed healthy for your baby, others discard the notion. So, is coconut milk beneficial for your baby?

Can Coconut Milk Be Alternative Milk for Babies?

It’s been proven time and again that mother’s milk is the best source of nutrition for a baby. Over the years, a lot of substitutes have been tried and tested but nothing even comes close to real mother’s milk. Coconut milk is no exception. Coconut milk for babies cannot be used as a substitute to mother’s milk. Mother’s milk contains all the nutrients that a baby needs for a healthy and all-round development.

A crucial part of a baby’s development is the healthy growth of bones. A baby needs a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients for development. Coconut milk cannot provide all these nutrients. 

  1. The calorie content of coconut is quite high. Due to this, whenever you feed a child with coconut milk, he will feel full and won't be able to consume other items. This leads to a deficiency of nutrients which can cause problems later on.
  2. There is little or almost zero protein content in a coconut. Therefore, it cannot help in muscle development.
  3. Calcium content, which plays a crucial part in the bone development, is also very low.
  4. Coconut milk also doesn’t contain any riboflavin.

When Can Babies Have Some Coconut Milk?

The answer is that it depends on how old your baby is. If your baby is still breastfeeding, then it’s imperative that the baby should only consume mother’s milk and nothing else. Coconut milk for babies is only consumed if the baby has completed the breastfeeding period.

After the first birthday, although milk can provide some nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, etc., these can very well be procured from other food items. 

Benefits in Coconut Milk

There is a lot of stuff in coconut that makes it beneficial for babies over one year old. One of the main constituents of coconut milk is lauric acid which is also found in breast milk. Lauric acid has a ton of properties that help a baby to grow and develop properly. Research also suggests that lauric acid boosts the immune system.

Coconut milk is perfect for toddlers with lactose intolerance as it is derived from coconut and has no lactose content.

Don’t Eat Too Much

Excess of anything is always bad. Therefore, it is not advisable to consume coconut milk in large amounts. One major reason is that coconut milk has a huge amount of saturated fats. Saturated fats are not healthy for your body. A single cup of coconut milk has 57 grams of saturated fats dissolved in it. In contrast, a cup of cow’s milk has only 8 grams.

The coconut milk available commercially, which is diluted with water that dissolves some of the fat and reduces the overall fat content. However, additives such as sweeteners might be used to make the milk taste better and this might have adverse effects on the health of your child. Therefore make sure to check carefully the nutritional information before buying.

Try Homemade Coconut Milk

Home Recipe

Store bought coconut milk for babies may be harmful and do not have any beneficial effect. Therefore, it is always best to prepare coconut milk at home and feed it to your child. This way, the harmful effect of the additives is nullified. However, make sure that you do not add anything else into the milk you prepare as this can reduce the nutritional value of the milk.

Given below are some steps that you can follow to prepare coconut milk at home.

  1. The first step in preparing coconut milk for babies is to procure a healthy coconut. A healthy coconut can be identified by its dark brown outer shell. Also, shake the coconut and see if it has water inside. A coconut with less amount of water should not be used for this process.
  2. Crack the coconut by using a hand grater, and grate the flesh inside. A coarse hand grater is best for this job. After grating the inside flesh, you may or may not want to remove the outer covering. This covering is a great source of dietary fiber.
  3. Put the grated coconut into boiling water and let it stand for 15 minutes.
  4. Using a strainer, collect the resultant coconut cream in a bowl. Press on the coconut shredding with a spoon to extract the maximum amount of cream. Another way to do this is to use a muslin cloth. Pour the coconut shredding into a muslin cloth and squeeze as hard as possible. Collect the resultant cream.
  5. To extract the milk from the cream, place it in the fridge and allow it to cool .Soon, the cream and milk will separate and you can collect the milk.

Food to Go with Coconut Milk

Coconut milk for babies can be used in a variety of food items. Here are some great ideas to try with coconut milk:

  1.  A little coconut milk mixed with a mashed banana is perfect for your child.
  2. Instead of using water, use coconut milk to cook your rice. It will not only enhance the flavor but also add some key nutrients that are healthy for your baby.
  3. Freshly cooked oatmeal and coconut water belong together. Try this combination for a great taste.
  4. Instead of using cow’s milk, try using coconut milk for milkshakes. Lends a different twist to the smoothie.
  5. 6 months or older babies can have coconut curry. To prepare it, use coconut milk instead of oil to prepare any curry. If your baby does not eat curry yet, do not try this recipe.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                      

 
 
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