Coconut Water for Babies: Safety, Health Benefits, And Side Effects

Coconut water for babies is ideally introduced after the first six months. Apart from having rejuvenating effects, a tender coconut drink is known for its high nutritional and medicinal benefits (1). Though it is a popular health drink loved by adults, especially athletes, most parents wonder if they may give this drink to their babies and if it is good for baby hydration.

Read on the post to explore the benefits, some important measures, the right age, and ways to begin feeding coconut water for babies.

Is Coconut Water Good For Babies?

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, coconut water is considered safe for children in general (2). There is no research to note the use of coconut water specifically for babies. However, coconut water is rich in electrolytesiXMinerals present in blood and bodily fluids that carry an electric charge and are crucial for essential body functions., carbohydrates, vitamins, and amino acidsiXThe building block of life whose molecules combine to form protein. (3), and these nutrients are required for a baby’s growth.

When Can Babies Have Coconut Water?

First, introduce one or two spoonfuls of coconut water to babies.

You may introduce coconut water after the baby attains the age of six months old. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that water can be added to a baby’s diet once they begin consuming solids (4). However, introduce it in one or two spoonfuls and check if there are any adverse reactions. Also, do not introduce two new foods at a time.

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Nutritional Value of Coconut Water

100g of coconut water contains the following nutrients.

Name Amount RDA (per day)
Water 94.99g
Energy 19kCal
Sugars, total 2.61g
Calcium 24mg 270mg (7-12 months)
Magnesium 25mg 60mg (7-12 months)
Phosphorus 20mg 275mg (7-12 months)
Potassium 250mg 700mg (7-12 months)
Sodium 105mg 200mg (7-12 months)

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture (5), World Health Organization (6), and U.S. National Institutes of Health (7)

Benefits of Coconut Water

Coconut water can have the following health benefits for babies.

  1. Refreshing source of energy:Coconut water contains carbohydrates, which can help meet your baby’s daily quota of the nutrient.
Coconut water provides energy and nutrients to babies.
  1. Provides hydration and electrolytes: Coconut water contains potassium and sodium. It also contains minerals, such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese which are essential for bone development and health  (8). Coconut water can be used as a rehydration drink during the summer months. It can also be useful in restoring electrolyte balance in infants with diarrhea (9). This makes coconut water an important source of pediatric nutrition.
  1. May improve digestion and absorption: Some research studies have shown that regular consumption of coconut water might aid in improving digestive health and infant gut health as well as enhance the process of nutrient absorption (10). However, this warrants more research.
  1. Rich in amino acids: Coconut water is rich in amino acids, like alanine, arginine, serene, and cysteine (11). It can make coconut water a healthy source of protein for a growing baby.
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Coconut water has several benefits tagged to it. But it is also important to know if there are any risks of giving coconut water to babies.

Possible Risks of Coconut Water For Babies

Coconut may pose the following risks to a baby.

  1. Allergic reaction: Allergic reactions to oral consumption of coconut are rare (12). But it is still good to be alert towards any reaction when feeding coconut water to a baby for the first time. You need to be extra careful if your baby already has other food allergies like allergy towards peanuts or other tree nuts.
In rare cases, coconut water may cause an allergic reaction.
  1. Hyperkalemia: Coconut water is rich in potassium. Feeding the baby very excessive amounts of coconut water may trigger a condition called hyperkalemia, where the potassium levels in the blood become high (13). However, it is unlikely to happen if the baby is fed a normal quantity of coconut water, like water and other fluids.

Measures To Follow While Giving Coconut Water To Babies

Always use freshly extracted water from a green coconut.

Coconut water is naturally sterileiXClean or free from microorganisms. as the water permeatesiXSpread through or pervade.through the huskiXOuter shell. and is filtered (10). Therefore, you need not boil coconut water before serving it to a baby. However, keep the following measures in mind when you decide to feed coconut water to the baby.

  1. Serve fresh: Use freshly extracted water from a green coconut. If fresh coconut water is unavailable, then you may opt for packaged coconut water. However, check for the date of manufacturing and the presence of preservatives. Go for pure coconut water and not the ones made with water and coconut water concentrate.
  1. Take it slow: Introduce coconut water in small sips, and then wait for a day or two to check for allergies. If the baby is not allergic and seems to enjoy the taste, then you may give coconut water to the baby regularly. Sometimes, a food item may show cross-reactivity with other food and cause allergy. Therefore, continue to stay alert even if the baby did not show any signs initially
  1. Avoid stored coconut water: Avoid storing fresh coconut water in the refrigerator for later use since storage might alter the taste and nutritional value. In the case of packaged coconut water, you may store it for an hour after opening the bottle. However, it is best not to feed a baby from opened and stored packaged coconut water.
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You can introduce this healthy drink in small amounts to babies older than six months since they should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their lives. Like adults, babies can also benefit from consuming organic products and plant-based beverages such as coconut water as a supplement to regular water. However, you must introduce coconut water in small quantities initially to check for allergic reactions. Further, it is recommended to provide only freshly extracted coconut water to babies. However, check with your child’s healthcare provider first if they have any health conditions.

Key Pointers

  • Coconut water is a nutrient-rich drink that is safe for babies above six months, unless they have allergies such as nut allergies.
  • Coconut water energizes, hydrates, restores electrolytes, and may improve digestion and nutrient absorption in babies.
  • However, excessive consumption of coconut water may lead to allergic reactions or increased blood potassium levels in babies.
  • It is ideal to introduce fresh and small amounts of coconut water to babies to check for any allergies or cross-reactions.

Article written by Baby Plumbing

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