“Safe.” I sort of dislike that word. Because really, the definition of safe and safety has soooooo dang much wiggle room both in the actual definition and in its interpretation.
The safety of using a specific product depends on so many factors including the actual person using it. So really, defining something as safe is, in my opinion, a bit arbitrary and a bit reckless. What I might be able to use without horrid repercussions might not be the best product for you.
See where I am going here?
Yeah – that’s right. I’m not answering the question “is coconut oil safe for babies and children?” Not directly anyway.
There is no way that I can say with 100% certainty if it is safe to give coconut oil to your baby or young child either internally or by applying it externally. But what I will share, is that typically, infants, babies and children of all ages really benefit from all the wonderful known benefits found in coconut oil.
Disclaimer time! I am not a licensed medical professional nor do I play one on this site so please do not take a single thing I write here to be bonafide medical advice. Whatever I share here is based on my personal experience, research, and possibly the experience of others. I am not making any medical claims. So take what I write and consult with your trusted practitioner before making any changes.
Is Coconut Oil Safe For Babies, Infants, and Children?
Can babies eat coconut oil? When someone asks me if it is “safe” to allow a baby to eat coconut oil off the spoon, my reply is “can your baby eat other foods off the spoon?” If the answer is yes, then most likely your baby can handle licking some coconut oil goodness off of a spoon. It has a very small choking hazard as it pretty much melts in your mouth. Although in cold climates when coconut oil is in a super solid-as-a-rock state, a mindful parent might want to offer it in very small amounts to lessen the risk of choking.
When I was a newly minted breastfeeding mother, I applied coconut oil liberally to my cracked nipples. My infant daughter, only a few days old, would obviously ingest some of the coconut oil that had not absorbed. She never had an issue and in fact, I credit all that early coconut oil with her oral health. Our dentist is really blown away by her teeth and gums (and trust me – it has NOTHING to do with my preconception or pregnancy diet. I wasn’t eating a real food diet like I do now). Sure, she grew up on real food and stays away from all the things that typically cause tooth decay, but her oral health transcends that. It really does. But I digress…
Anyway – unless you have a true coconut allergy that runs in your family (there is a difference between allergy and die off that coconut oil can cause) then chances are slim that your baby is allergic to coconut oil. But always proceed with caution the first time your baby consumes coconut oil, whether that be a wee amount during breastfeeding or a heaping spoonful as a snack.
If you are stumped for ways to use coconut oil on your infant or young children, check out 20 Ways To Use Coconut Oil on Infants and Children. It covers all the basics and then some!
How long as Tiny been “on the coconut oil?” Well, like I mentioned before, she was getting small amounts from breastfeeding but since I was consuming it, she was also getting it in my breast milk.
However, when Tiny was a wee one of about a year, I got her hooked on coconut oil. For her, grabbing a jar of coconut oil and eating it like ice cream was better than, well, eating ice cream out of the carton! Her brand of choice was Barlean’s and whenever she would see it in the store, she would hound me to make sure we had plenty at home! While she loves coconut oil in general, running out of the Barlean’s brand would send her into a funk. Seriously.
I remember the first time she tried Barlean’s brand of coconut oil. She was 2 ½ years old and they had sent me some jars to try and then review on this here blog! After Tiny took her first taste, she grab the other jars and hid them in the office “just in case” which was her way of declaring them HERS. Funny stuff. She was hooked on Barlean’s ever since.
Ok – off topic, sort of. I just had to share that story.
Anyway, the brand of coconut oil you give your infant or baby is less important than making sure you are only using unrefined coconut oil. This is also known as Virgin coconut oil. Unrefined coconut oil is in its purest form, free of any adulteration. It offers premium supportive health benefits which of course is what you want for your child right? And just because Tiny loves Barlean’s coconut oil, doesn’t mean that other brands do not taste wonderful. There are several brands I use and love but they all have little nuances in the flavor. You might have to try a few out to find the one your child obsesses over. 😉
So in a nutshell, coconut oil is considered to be extremely beneficial for people of all ages, infants and children included. Use common sense and keep an eye out for any physical reactions or behavioral changes. Typically, coconut oil will only do wonders for your wee ones!
When did you first give coconut oil to your children? What was his or her reaction?
Sources for this article include:
- Dr. Bruce Fife
- Strunk T, Pupala S, Hibbert J, Doherty D, Patole S. Topical Coconut Oil in Very Preterm Infants: An Open-Label Randomised Controlled Trial. Neonatology. 2018;113(2):146–151. doi:10.1159/000480538
- Arun S, Kumar M, Paul T, et al. 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. J Trop Pediatr. 2019;65(1):63–70. doi:10.1093/tropej/fmy012
- BALLABRIGA A, SANZ S, ESCRIU JM. Coconut-oil-filledmilk in infant feeding. Helv Paediatr Acta. 1962;17:103–113.
Ellen Mclaughlin says
I’m gonna foster a wee baby girl from 5 weeks old. She was 5 weeks early, on detox and has Down Syndrome. The hospital has put her on S26 Gold Newborn. Of course I will follow advise from pediatricians. But when you would have a choice, what would you feed a baby in this case, when breastfeeding is no option ?
kind regards, Ellen.
Hi Ellen! If you are open to it, homemade formula is the BEST alternative to breastmilk. Here is a post with a recipe and links to alternative recipes: https://hybridrastamama.com/mindful-mothering-challenge-breastfeeding-formula-feeding-and-respect
Have you thought about donor milk? That would be the best option. Human Milk for Human Babies is a great resource! Good luck to you both and bless you for taking in such a wee one.
K. WILSON says
It is humanmilk4humanbabies. Com
My son had 3 or 4 donors from there. They were all lovely mums. It is not weird or gross. You go to their home and meet them and talk w them. At least that us what I did.
Very interesting question! I’ve spent a lot of time in Tahiti where native tahitians use coconut for everything. Babies definitely taste coconut oil there (and coconut milk as well), though I am not sure if it is routinely “given”. I would think a tiny bit would be a great constipation lube.
Yes. Coconut oil is great for greasing the wheels so to speak.
I am new to the use of coconut oil though have always known it is good for you. I have a question if anyone wouldn’t mind answering. I have two little girls. One is three and a half, the other is one and a half. My second daughter has been my sickly child. We have been in and out of the doctors more time than I have ever been in my life. I would think perhaps she has a delicate immune system? Anyways, I’m not one for modern medicine and will only consume it myself if I absolutely have to. I have followed docs instructions with my girls, obviously because I am not a Dr, and don’t want any harm to come to my babies. So my little sickly bub had been in and out out of docs, and then with this last bit, we had gone in, she had a fever, bad chesty cough and nasal mucus. The Dr said its a bacterial infection. No one could tell me what kind, where it came from or anything. They put her on antibiotics, and cough syrup. Finish the course of antibiotics etc, go to doc to double check that it was gone. Apparently it was. Then a week later back again, more antibiotics etc, same thing happened then back again.. It was like a yoyo effect. So now I’m angry, this is my baby the doctors just keep feeding antibiotics and not getting to the route of the problem!! So I had been reading a lot about the benefits of coconut oil and have put my girls onto virgin organic coconut oil. Its been four days now. My oldest seems to he coping well, just a slight runny nose. (I had read about the die off effects or something like that, the body getting rid of toxins and bad bacteria etc).. So I am not too worried about the slight runny nose. I have a on 5mls a day. I heat it a little until liquid and she takes it like that. Then there’s my youngest sickly pop, I had her on 5ml as well, for the first two days. Also runny nose but then would wake up at night crying and holding her tummy. So I’m guessing it gave her tummy ache. (She loves coconut oil though. Will eat it even if I take a bit out in its hard form) so yesterday I gave her less, gave her 2.5ml (as I read that off the die off effect thing is too much for the body then just reduce the amount taken and increase gradually) then she had a temperature last night. I have been preying so much that this coconut oil works for my baby because goodness knows what all those antibiotics are doing to her. But I don’t know if this coconut oil is working. I wanted to know if there is a time period for it to have cleansed the body off all bad bacteria etc and can get my baby back on track? Or am I just an idiot who needs to keep my litttle girl on the antibiotics until she is older? And everything she is experiencing, the runny nose, the achy tummy, the temperature, is it all part of the body fighting off the bad? Please help asap
Try naturopathic doctors.
What happend ? Did it work?
This sounds so much like me as a kid. Has she ever been tested for Celiac Disease? Weakened immune system, Upper respiratory infections, stomach aches, even migraines are all symptoms. I would also think that adding coconut oil to an antibiotic regimen could cause a stomach ache simply because both things are antibiotic. I would pump Her full of probiotics each day or night after the antibiotic has left her stomach.
WOW!! Excellent Information. Extra virgin organic coconut oil is a best choice to take care of your health and you baby. – smoilie.com
I’ve started giving vco my 1st-born son since he’s 1month. He too has very healthy teeth and gums. He never had runny nose until 11mos.i just gave him vco and bye2 colds after 2 days. He had chicken pox when he was 6mos,but with vco his blisters all turned dry brown crusts after 3days. His brother (8mos old) never had diaper rash since birth until now.
Are Coconuts Safe For Your Child? Find out the benefits.
Recently, i bought a virgin coco oil for my leaky gut problems and hypothyroidism, at first i was skeptical to ingest spoonful of the oil and i my vomit for tasting it. But now im raving it. Seriously, it doesn’t have that taste but when i taste it it has a very sweet smell and i love it. It’s probably going to be my hg for healthy self.
Great to hear this!
Thanks for sharing your personal baby & coco experience Jennifer! I’m not a mom (yet) myself, so whenever I write about it, I talk to friends who are moms and raise their kids naturally or look for inspiring articles online.
I’ve linked to your article and will check out more on your blog!
This is the weirdest thing i ever read, people eat coconut oil from the jar and they have their babies do it too? Do you also feed it butter? Why is this beneficial? Why not olive oil? Im so confused?
Coconut oil has a lot of health benefits – more so than any other oil. Hence why it is recommended for babies. Olive oil is too heavy for their systems as is butter. Most people just give their babies a wee little bit on their fingertip or nipple if breastfeeding. Babies wouldn’t be eating a spoonful like an adult might.
Do you have kids? If so I feel like you would have gotten to the point a lot faster I didn’t need a grammar or word definition first guy…I wanted to know if I could use coconut oil not the obvious safe and safety and every baby is different…not trying to be rude but it was pretty important
i bought a virgin coco oil for my leaky gut problems and hypothyroidism, at first i was skeptical to ingest spoonful of the oil and i my vomit for tasting it. But now im raving it. Seriously, it doesn’t have that taste but when i taste it it has a very sweet smell and i love it. It’s probably going to be my hg for healthy self….