If you have ever wondered if coconut milk is good for breastfeeding mothers, the answer is a resounding yes.
- Sweetened only with coconuts for a refreshing, authentic taste
- Good source of vitamin D
- Vegan and gluten-free
- Excellent for drinking, baking, or adding to Asian inspired soups or recipes
Coconut milk as well as its popular counterpart coconut oil is a superfood that is extremely nourishing for lactating mothers. Babies benefit from the medium chain fatty acids that are passed through the breast milk to them.
Coconut milk, like coconut oi,l is a natural galactagogue, which means that it can increase milk supply. This helps new mothers pump extra milk to keep in the refrigerator, as well as produce ample amounts for whenever the infant is hungry.
Aside from being a non-dairy milk alternative for moms with sensitive tummies, coconut milk produces a more nutritious breast milk that is full of fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
Is Coconut Milk Good For Breastfeeding?
It’s common knowledge that nutrients from a mother’s diet are passed on to a nursing baby. This is certainly true of coconut milk that has many benefits for both mother and child.
Amino acids, protein, and healthy fats in the form of medium chain triglycerides provide both mom and infant with a balance of vitamins, minerals and medium chain fatty acids.
Here is a more in-depth look at the many health benefits that coconut milk offers breastfeeding mothers.
Coconut Milk Is A Great Source of Fatty Acids
Coconut milk is rich in fatty acids that assist with cognition, mood and better sleep. These benefits are easily passed onto your baby through your breast milk supply.
However, if a breastfeeding mom drinks a lot of coconut milk, the fatty acids that are fed to the child indirectly through her breast milk should also help the baby gain weight.
Whether fed through breast milk or directly from a bottle, coconut milk is very easily digested by a child, unless he or she has a very rare allergy to coconuts. However, coconut milk should never replace breast milk or formula, especially for a child under the age of 1 year.
As an added bonus coconut milk is also rich in lauric acid and myristic acid, which help to lower cholesterol levels and may help new mothers lose postpartum weight.
Coconut Milk Is Nutritious
Coconut milk is known as a health food because it is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation in the body. This is beneficial for both mothers and babies that may have suffered physical trauma during the labor process.
Your baby’s immune system will benefit greatly from the antioxidants in coconut milk that help to fight the free radical damage caused by aging and disease.
If you are concerned that your breasts are sagging or painful due to birth and breastfeeding then consuming coconut oil may help restore the collagen in your skin and help heal chapped nipples.
Drinking coconut milk can also help stressed-out mothers regain any hair they may have lost during pregnancy or during postpartum.
Coconut Milk Nutrition
Coconut milk also contains several vitamins and minerals essential for human health.
Vitamins and minerals from coconut that are passed on through breastmilk include the vitamins C, E and B complex, and the minerals calcium, magnesium, selenium, iron and phosphorus.
The high nutrient content of the coconut milk that is passed on to the child supports healthy brain, bone and tissue growth.
Coconut Milk Provides Hydration For Breastfeeding Mothers
The reason that coconut milk is sometimes referred to as Nature’s Sports Drink is because of how efficient it is at keeping people hydrated.
The natural sugars and potassium salt in coconut milk also help to keep a breastfeeding mama hydrated.
Staying hydrated while breastfeeding is the most important thing to do to support breast milk supply.
Coconut Milk May Increase Breast Milk Production
Breastmilk mainly consists of soluble fat, which is the same kind of fat content that is found in coconut milk.
Combine this needed soluble fat with the hydrating effects of liquid coconut, and your body will naturally take its cue to produce nutritious breastmilk
Coconut Milk Supplies Breast Milk with Antimicrobial Action
Coconut oil has antimicrobial agents, such as capric acid and lauric acid, that deeply enrich your breast milk. Nutrients passed on through mother’s milk boosts the baby’s immunity, helps it fight infections and protects it against viruses.
Coconut Milk Assists With Sore Breasts
Whether it be a chapped nipple or a body that is just sore from sitting in one position and nursing for hours, the good saturated fats in coconut milk can help you be well.
You can also use coconut milk in the shower to soothe your breasts and any aches and pains that are the result of labor.
A wipe down of your baby’s rear end with coconut milk can also help soothe the sting of diaper rash.
Ways to Add Coconut Milk to Your Daily Diet
Drinking plain coconut milk all day might seem a bit repetitive, but there are other ways to get coconut milk or cream into your diet.
Add Coconut Milk to Soups
You can increase your coconut milk intake by adding it, instead of dairy milk, to your soups.
This can simply mean adding coconut milk to a canned soup instead of water or dairy milk, or you can make a recipe that is designed to have coconut milk as an ingredient.
Coconut milk is often the main ingredient in Thai and Caribbean recipes for soup. Try combining coconut milk with red or yellow lentils to make a basic cream of coconut soup.
Thai Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk is made from pressed, ripe coconut meat. It’s a versatile ingredient for adding delicate flavor and rich texture in curries, sauces, soups, smoothies, beverages and more.
Coconut milk also goes well with chicken broth, coriander, chicken, onion and ginger.
Note that coconut milk goes well with most curry dishes but if you are a breastfeeding mother, you may not want to expose your baby to spices that it could taste and that could irritate the baby’s tummy.
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Use Coconut Milk on Cereal
Coconut milk is a great substitute for cow’s milk. Increase your milk supply by pouring it on your cereal or oatmeal in the morning.
Make a Coconut Milk Latte
You can easily swap the milk in your morning latte with the more nutritious option of coconut milk.
There are even some companies out there, such as MilkLab Coconut and Pacific Barista Series that make high-performance coconut milks that are formulated to foam up nicely to make designer coffees.
Water, Coconut Cream (Coconut Milk, Water, Xanthan Gum), Natural Cane Sugar, Natural Flavors, Tripotassium Citrate, Sodium Citrate, Sea Salt, Carrageenan, Gellan Gum
Make Coconut Milk Smoothies
Drinking your coconut milk in a smoothie is a fine way to boost your breast milk supply in a tasty way.
Ideas for coconut milk smoothies include:
- A Coconut Vanilla Yogurt smoothie made with coconut milk, vanilla yogurt, ice and a dash of vanilla.
- A Pina Colada smoothie made with pineapple, coconut milk and vanilla.
- A Lime Coconut Smoothie made with frozen limeade, sweetened coconut milk and lots of ice.
- A Matcha Coconut smoothie made with milk, matcha green tea powder and ice.
- A Strawberry Banana Coconut Smoothie blended with coconut milk strawberries, banana and ice.
- A Chocolate Coconut Smoothie blended with coconut milk, sweetened cacao powder, banana and ice.
- A Mango Coconut Smoothie made from coconut milk, frozen mangos and ice.
Here are some frequently asked questions about coconut milk and breastfeeding.
How will I know if I or my baby has an allergy to coconut milk?
Skin reactions are common in people with coconut milk allergies and include rash, hives or eczema.
If your baby shows any signs of a rash after breastfeeding, and you have been drinking coconut milk to increase your milk supply, then it might be time to stop.
Very serious signs of a coconut milk allergy include nausea, stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea. If you or your baby experience wheezing, coughing or a runny nose, get to a doctor immediately.
Does coconut milk contain toxic ingredients?
Before you buy a carton or can of coconut milk it is a good idea to read the label. There are two ingredients commonly added to coconut milk, that you are better off without.
One of these ingredients is Guar Gum. This substance is a binding ingredient that can cause flatulence and diarrhea in some people.
Carrageenan in coconut milk is also an issue. This is a liquid binder that prevents ingredients from separating in a carton. Fortunately, the manufacturers of coconut milk are onto this and many offer products that do not have these two ingredients.
Does coconut milk need to be refrigerated after opening?
Yes, coconut milk must be refrigerated after opening. Once opened, coconut milk will last in the refrigerator for seven to ten days. There is usually an expiration date on the product’s can or carton to tell you when the coconut milk is no longer safe to drink.
If the coconut milk has a grayish or chunky appearance or if it seems thick or has a sour smell, that means it has gone bad.
Coconut milk is delicious, nutritious, refreshing and hydrating, but you can also reap similar benefits from consuming coconut oil, fresh coconut and coconut water. Unless you or your baby is allergic to coconut, there is absolutely no reason why the two of you can’t reap every single benefit of coconut milk.
The next time you are nursing and feel the need for replenishment, reach for coconut milk to fortify yourself and relieve fatigue. Not only will you feel more energetic and focused, but you will produce more nutritious breast milk for your baby.