In the early stages of parenthood, you’re guaranteed to hear about many products that are ‘beneficial’ for your little one. Sometimes, this wide variety of options may even leave you with more questions than answers. Thankfully, that’s why you’ve got us. In this article, we’d talk about one of these products; coconut oil.
This article contains all you need to know about coconut oil; when, how, and why to use it for your baby.
Read on to find out!
Table of contents:
What Is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil, just like its name, is the oil that comes from the nut (or fruit) of the coconut palm. In many parts of the world, this oil is used to make various types of medicines or creams. Sometimes, coconut oil products are called ‘virgin coconut oil’ because this oil is generally unprocessed. That is, it has not been bleached, deodorized, or even refined.
In other instances, you may come across the term: ‘cold pressed coconut oil’. This means the oil in question was processed via a mechanical method without external heat.
How is this possible?
It is simple, really. The high pressure process of extracting oil from coconut palms produce some natural heat, however, this temperature is often kept below 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, ‘cold pressed’ coconut oil refers to coconut oil kept below this temperature limit during extraction.
Globally, people use coconut oil for various purposes which would be discussed later in this article, however before we continue, let’s talk about ‘how’ coconut oil works.
How Does Coconut Oil Work?
Coconut oil contains ‘medium chain triglycerides’ which is a special type of fat that operates in a different way from every other type of fat in the body. When applied to the human skin, coconut oil has a therapeutic and moisturizing effect. This is a direct result of the high Vitamin E constituent of coconut oil.
Furthermore, coconut oil has several natural anti-germ properties that make it suitable to treat minor skin infections like Eczema or Rash. As a result, manufacturers add coconut oil to soaps, shampoos, and moisturizers. In addition, dermatologic studies show that virgin coconut oil contains essential inflammation-soothing properties that protect and thickens the delicate skin of preterm or low birth weight babies.
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Babies
Coconut oil has many potential health benefits for both babies and adults. This is not strange when you consider its global relevance. In this section, we’ve compiled some of the possible benefits coconut oil offers to your little one:
- Eczema Treatment: Medical studies have confirmed that applying coconut oil to the skin lowers the severity of eczema in babies. In fact, statistics show that coconut oil reduces the obvious effects of eczema by 30% more than other mineral oil.
- Diaper Rash Treatment: As we mentioned earlier, coconut oil leaves the skin feeling soft, warm, and fresh. This makes it a suitable therapeutic option for diaper rash because it counteracts the bacteria and fungi which cause the rash in the first place.
- Improved Skin Moisture: For babies with dry skin, applying coconut oil twice daily may improve skin moisture and tone.
- Weight Gain: In some studies conducted on babies weighing less than 2500grams at birth, it was observed that giving coconut oil during breastfeeding improves weight gain. However, it is important to note that this process did not help babies weighing less than 1500grams.
- Growth & Development: Preterm infants have immature skin. In most cases, this increases their chances of getting an infection as the skin’s immunity is not well developed. Certain studies show that applying coconut oil to the skin of preterm babies improves and strengthens their skin.
To ensure that your baby gets all of these benefits (and many more) from coconut oil, it is important to apply it in the right quantity and at the right time.
How can you do this?
Just keep reading!
How to Use Coconut Oil for Your Baby
First, you need to search for the best quality virgin coconut oil available. This is because it is important to ensure that your little one gets the best from every product used. We recommend that you crosscheck the ingredients list to ascertain it is pure coconut oil without added chemicals or dyes.
The next step is to give your baby a nice bath with warm water and mild baby shampoo. After this, pat your child dry and wrap him/her in a warm, soft, and fluffy towel.
Next, you can warm a small quantity of coconut oil in a bowl or place it in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Once this step is completed, test the warm coconut oil on the inside of your wrist to make sure it is at the right temperature.
Finally, scoop some of the coconut oil and rub it between your fingers or on your palm. Gently massage your baby’s skin with your fingers or palms. If your child has eczema or a diaper rash, you can start with the affected area before moving to other parts of his/her body.
Do you know the best part?
Giving your baby a coconut oil massage will improve your skin-to-skin time and promote mother/child bonding.
Final Words from Edie & Amy
In conclusion, it is important to note that not all natural oils are good for your baby’s skin. If your child is suffering from any serious skin condition, it is crucial to contact your pediatrician before applying coconut oil or any other type of natural oil.
Also, if your baby experiences any reaction (like a rash) to coconut oil, stop using it immediately and seek medical advice for other suitable products to use. In addition, for babies who are being exclusively breastfed, coconut oil is better applied on the skin than ingested.
Finally, coconut oil is a natural oil with many therapeutic and moisturizing effects. However, we advise that you follow the guidelines mentioned above while using it for your baby.
You’ve got this, Mama!
- Arora, S., Ravindran, D., & Sarkar, S. (2015). Effect of Coconut Oil Massage on Weight and Neurobehavioral Response in. International Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 1(3), 1-3.
- Arun, S., Kumar, M., Paul, T., Thomas, N., Mathai, S., Rebekah, G., & Thomas, N. (2019). An Open-label Randomized Controlled Trial to Compare Weight Gain of Very Low Birth Weight Babies with or without Addition of Coconut Oil to Breast Milk. Journal of Tropical Pediatrics, 65(1), 63–70.
- Sankaranarayanan, K., Mondkar, J. A., Chauhan, M. M., Mascarenhas, B. M., Mainka, A. R., & Salvi, R. Y. (2005). Oil Massage in Neonates: An Open Randomized Controlled Study of Coconut versus Mineral Oil. Indian Journal of Pediatrics(42), 877-884.