When it comes to feeding babies, the first thing that pops into our minds is breast milk and formula feeding. But did you know about another very important, natural and healthy drink for your baby? Yes, it is coconut water. For centuries, babies in Thailand have been offered mashed tender coconut flesh as their first food. It is mashed to a puree like consistency, just as with any other kind of baby food, and fed to them.
This is because a coconut is literally filled with all kinds of vital nutrients in the form of the tender coconut flesh, water and coconut milk. Coconut water alone contains various minerals like Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, and Manganese. It also contains Vitamin C and Riboflavin. This is why your doctor may advise or recommend mixing your formula powder with coconut water when feeding your baby. It has a number of medicinal properties and is known to cure many common baby problems such as constipation, diarrhoea and vomiting.
Coconut water contains lauric acid - also found in breast milk - which makes it easy to digest. It is also known to improve immunity in babies. Experts recommend waiting till they are about 6-8 months old before introducing them to coconut water. This means that you can start giving them coconut water around the time that you introduce them to solid foods. You could even mix it in with formula but make sure to consult your doctor before you do so.
Here are a few things to keep in mind about feeding coconut water to babies:
1. Only fresh tender coconut water for babies
If the coconut isn’t fresh, the nutritional value of the water may diminish. So always opt to feed them coconut water that is obtained from a fresh green tender coconut. You can opt for the packaged coconut water sold by various vendors when there is no other option.
2. Strain the coconut water
The coconut water might contain large chunks that could serve as a choking hazard for babies. Even if you decide to give them the coconut chunks on the side, they are not easy for them to chew - not even the grated coconut. So, make sure to strain out the chunks thoroughly before offering the coconut water to your baby.
3. Use a sipper bottle
Coconut water is to be sipped slowly, by taking tiny little sips each time rather than gulping it all down at once. So you can offer it to your baby in the form of a sipper bottle or a regular feeding bottle so that they can only take little sips at a time.
4. Keep a lookout for allergies
When you introduce your baby to coconut water, make sure to observe and see if they have any allergic reaction. As with any other food that you introduce to your baby, introduce it to them in isolation, that is, feed them only coconut water and watch out for any allergies that could form in the next half an hour or so. If there is no reaction, then you may continue to offer them coconut water.