Benefits of Coconut Oil for Breastfeeding Moms
Coconut oil also has beneficial qualities for not only the skin, but the whole body. Coconut oil supports a healthy inflammatory balance by providing antioxidant properties, including natural vitamin E that benefits the body.
Coconut Oil for Skin Care
Coconut oil is made of rich, saturated fats which help retain the moisture content of the skin. An all natural, delicious smelling moisturizer that soothes and nourishes, without the risk of irritating the skin.
For an alternative to harsh chemicals, coconut oil works wonderfully as a natural makeup remover. Simply dab some coconut oil on a cotton ball or makeup remover pad and gentle wipe the makeup off. Remember to lightly rinse the facial area with water to remove any excess oil.
For full body skin care, apply coconut oil liberally to hands, feet, lips and cuticles whenever you feel dryness or want to add hydration. The quickly absorbable, non greasy oil will help keep skin as soft and smooth as a baby’s bottom.
Expectant moms can use coconut oil to help prevent and repair stretch marks. Coconut oil penetrates deeply into the skin to nourish and hydrate your expanding belly.
Coconut Oil for Hair Care
Aside from the many skin benefits of coconut oil, it also provides nourishment to hair as well. Coconut oil contains Vitamin K and Vitamin E which can help treat itchy scalp, dandruff and even make hair follicles stronger. This, in turn, can help your hair grow longer and thicker.
To condition your hair, warm a small amount of coconut oil in the palms of your hands and apply to the ends of your hair. The vitamins and fatty acids in coconut oil can work as a detangler and can hydrate the hair to reduce breakage and repair damage.
It can also simply be used as a styling tool for your hair. By using a tiny amount, coconut oil can lessen frizziness and smooth out pesky fly-aways or stubborn baby hairs. Coconut oil will not only make your hair feel good but look good as well.
Coconut Oil for Baby Care
Coconut oil has natural properties to protect and heal the skin. It contains 3 fatty acids: Caprylic Acid, Capric Acid, Lauric Acid. Research has shown that these acids have antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help reduce inflammation and infection in cuts and scrapes. Make sure to pack some coconut oil in your diaper bag the next time you take a trip to the playground with your children for those inevitable boo-boos. Coconut oil can also help relieve eczema outbreaks on yourself or your child.
Coconut Oil for Diaper Rash
Coconut oil contains antimicrobial, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that help promote healing. It also contains lauric acid (also found in breast milk) that can be an effective treatment for bacterial and fungal problems. The oil acts as a barrier to help treat and prevent diaper rash. To use for diaper rash, wash and dry baby’s bottom, then apply a thin layer of coconut oil on the affected area. Let the oil dry before adding a new diaper.
Coconut Oil for Breastfeeding
Once baby arrives, mom can use coconut oil while breastfeeding to soothe and help repair sore, cracked nipples. Simply apply a small amount of coconut oil directly to the nipple. Because coconut oil is all natural there is no need to wipe off before nursing baby since it is okay for baby to consume.
In addition to using coconut oil on our bodies, coconut oil also has amazing benefits when you incorporate the oil into your diet. Coconut oil can be used instead of other fats (i.e. shortening and butter) in cooking and baking. You can melt it over vegetables, blend it into hot cereal and add to many other hot meals. Try stirring a scoop into hot beverages. Or, during your busy day with baby, just eat a heaping spoonful of coconut oil for a quick energy boost!
Women who consumed Coconut oil saw the benefit of increased levels of antimicrobial fats (called medium-chain fatty acids or MCFAs) according to a study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. These fats, lauric acid and capric acid guard against infection from harmful viruses, bacteria, yeast and parasites, thus supporting the baby’s immune system.
In other countries, where coconut oil is a staple in the diet, the levels of MCFAs in breastmilk are naturally higher. These rich fats in mother’s milk are vital for the continued growth and development of infants. The levels of MCFAs can be as low as 3 to 4 percent in breast milk, but when nursing mothers eat coconut products (shredded coconut, coconut milk, coconut oil, etc.) the levels of MCT in their breast milk increase significantly. Eating 40 grams (about 3 tablespoons) of coconut oil in one meal can temporarily increase the lauric acid in the milk of a nursing mother from 3.9% to 9.6% after 14 hours. “This gives an important benefit,” says Mary G. Enig, Ph.D. an expert in lipid chemistry and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition. “The milk has increased amounts of the protective antimicrobials lauric acid and capric acid, which gives even greater protection to the infant. If the mother consumes coconut oil every day while nursing, the medium-chain fatty acid content will be even greater.”
If You are Nursing, How Much Coconut Oil Should Moms Consume While Nursing?
The levels of MCFAs can be as low as 3 to 4 percent in breast milk, but when nursing mothers eat coconut products (shredded coconut, coconut milk, coconut oil, etc.) the levels of MCT in their breast milk increase significantly. Eating 40 grams (about 3 tablespoons) of coconut oil in one meal can temporarily increase the lauric acid in the milk of a nursing mother from 3.9% to 9.6% after 14 hours. “This gives an important benefit,” says Mary G. Enig, Ph.D. an expert in lipid chemistry and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition. “The milk has increased amounts of the protective antimicrobials lauric acid and capric acid, which gives even greater protection to the infant. If the mother consumes coconut oil every day while nursing, the medium-chain fatty acid content will be even greater.”
The beneficial fats found in coconut oil are easy to digest and are immediately converted to energy in the body instead of being stored as fat. They can also improve the absorption of other dietary nutrients such as minerals and the fat soluble nutrients (A, D, E, K, beta carotene) along with some amino acids. Coconut oil provides a source of energy that is not dependent on blood sugar (glucose). This means it may actually protect against reactions that lead to insulin resistance and its consequences (obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, etc.). In one study, coconut oil was added to the formula of 46 very low-birthweight babies to see if supplementation was capable of enhancing their weight gain. The group receiving the coconut oil gained weight more quickly and the weight gain was due to physical growth and not fat storage. Coconut oil is easy for an infant’s immature digestive system to absorb and utilize.