Coconut milk seems healthy and as parents, we are always trying to ensure we give our children the healthiest foods and drinks.
As infants and toddlers, your child needs certain foods for healthy growth and development, and milk is one of them.
But what are you supposed to do if your child has a dairy allergy or a milk intolerance?
If your child has a dairy allergy or a milk intolerance, they cannot consume whole cow’s milk, which is the preferred milk for children over one year of age to consume.
Whole cow’s milk is preferred due to its high healthy fat content, which along with the other vitamins and nutrients, is very essential to your child’s growth and development.
Rest assured, that there are other very safe alternatives for your child who cannot have whole cow’s milk.
Can I Give My Baby Coconut Milk? Answer: Yes.
One product is coconut milk. Coconut milk comes from the coconut and is not considered a dairy product, making it safe for children suffering from milk allergies and intolerances. Keep in mind, though, that if your child is given coconut milk instead of whole cow’s milk, you should talk to your doctor about added supplements to your child’s diet.
Whole cow’s milk contains essential vitamins, minerals and fats that are not found in coconut milk, and your child may need to find these other nutrients in other foods and drinks to ensure a healthy development.
Allergies and Lactose Intolerance
If your child does not suffer from a dairy allergy or intolerance, he or she should be consuming whole cow’s milk (as long as they are over one year of age). Until your child’s first birthday, breast milk and/or formula provide your child with the essential nutrients he or she needs for healthy growth and development.
After your child’s first birthday, he or she can start consuming whole cow’s milk, which contains other essential nutrients for your toddler. Coconut milk should never replace whole cow’s milk just for the sake of replacement. If your family is vegan, soy milk is the next best product, but coconut milk is also healthy for your child.
Is It a Nut?
It is important to note that some pediatricians and professionals believe that coconuts are a type of nut. While this is still up for debate, some doctors may recommend waiting on giving your child coconut milk until their third birthday if their is a history of food allergies in the family. Nuts have a very high allergy-inducing rate, and if there is a history of food allergies in the family, your child is more likely to suffer from one themselves.
If you have given your child coconut milk and have noticed any rashing, itching or vomiting, you need to consult your child’s doctor or go to the hospital immediately. While the effects of a nut allergy depends on the individual, they can range from being mild to extremely severe. If you are concerned about giving coconut milk to your child, it is always best to talk with your child’s physician. He or she will be able to give you their professional opinion on the matter.
Family History of Food Allergies
If there is no history of food allergy in your family and you plan on giving coconut milk to your child, is it always best to watch for symptoms of an allergic reaction up to three days after the initial introduction. As stated previously, symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from mild to severe, so it is best to not write anything off as a coincidence.
If your child has had coconut milk without any symptoms, feel free to add it to other foods. Coconut milk is also great for cooking. Instead of using regular milk to prepare your child’s food, you can use coconut milk instead.
So remember, coconut milk is safe for your child (over one year of age). It is very beneficial to children who suffer from a milk allergy or intolerance, and it is also a great choice for families raising their child on a vegan diet. However, if your child does not suffer from milk allergy or intolerance, and is not being raised as a vegan, whole cow’s milk is the best choice for your growing child. The vitamins, minerals and fats found in whole cow’s milk are extrememly beneficial to your growing child, and no other “milk” can match it.
Again, keep in mind that some believe coconuts to be a nut, and since nut allergies are very high in popularity, you need to watch your child for allergic reaction symptoms for three days after the initial introduction. If your child shows any symptoms of an allergic reaction, you need to consult their doctor or visit the hospital immediately.
As always, if you have any questions about coconut milk, it is best to consult your child’s physician, as they will be able to discuss your concerns in more detail.