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Coconut water is an excellent source of hydration with the added benefit of electrolytes when you are breastfeeding. But does it help increase your milk supply? Read on to learn everything about coconut water while breastfeeding.

Hydration is key when you are breastfeeding. If you are drinking one glass of water at each breastfeeding session and then drinking to thirst, you are good to go.

You don’t need to overdo drinking water in the hope of increasing your milk supply. Drinking to thirst is all you need.

person holding coconut with straw in it
Photo by Derek Story on Unsplash

But when you are trying to boost your milk supply, adding nutrients and electrolytes to your drink might help.

Coconut water is an excellent source of nutrients, electrolytes and it is naturally sweetened. So those breastfeeding mamas, who do not like to drink water, coconut water can be a great option for hydration.

Coconut water is generally considered safe to drink while breastfeeding. But there is no scientific evidence supporting coconut water increasing breast milk supply. However, coconut water is hydrating in nature because of its electrolytes content, which may be a reason why breastfeeding mothers might see an increase in their breast milk supply.

Let’s look at the benefits of drinking coconut water while breastfeeding and whether it helps increase milk supply in detail.

What is Coconut Water?

Coconut water is a clear fluid tapped from a young coconut. It is naturally sweetened, free from fat and cholesterol, low in calories, and electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

Also, coconut water is famous for hydration after a workout. And breastfeeding is no less than a workout. Nursing burns 500 calories a day, and a 5-kilometer run burns 500 calories. So, drinking coconut water while breastfeeding will increase your daily intake of nutrients and electrolytes.

Let’s look at the nutritional value of 240 ml of unsweetened coconut water and recommended daily allowance of nutrients during lactation.

Unsweetened Coconut
water (240ml)
Dietary Allowance
during lactation/day
Carbs 15 grams
Sugar 8 grams
Calcium 40.8 mg1200 mg
Magnesium 16.8 mg 340-355 mg
Phosphorus 19.2 mg1200 mg
Potassium 509 mg 2800 mg
Sodium 45.6 mg 1500 mg

Is it Safe to drink Coconut water while Breastfeeding?

Coconut water is generally considered safe to consume while breastfeeding. However, there is no clinical data on the safety of coconut water while breastfeeding.

Looking at the nutritional value of coconut water, drinking it while breastfeeding adds up to your daily requirements of nutrients.

Coconut water is an excellent option for hydration for those mamas who relies on flavored water or sugary drinks for hydration during breastfeeding.

While it is safe to consume coconut water in moderation while breastfeeding, you should seek medical advice if you have medical conditions like kidney problems or blood pressure issues (1).  

Related Post:  Is it safe to drink Chamomile tea while Breastfeeding?

Does Coconut water Help Increase Breast milk supply?

Now that we know coconut water is safe to drink while breastfeeding, but does it help increase breast milk supply?

While there are no scientific studies on the effectiveness of coconut water in regulating milk supply, it is traditionally considered galactagogue.

Coconut water is regularly consumed by breastfeeding mothers in various parts of the world. It is an excellent source of hydration while breastfeeding.

One of the significant factors in increasing breastmilk supply is hydration. And what is better than coconut water in providing optimum hydration other than water?

And because coconut water is rich in electrolytes, it replenishes lost electrolytes and keeps you hydrated while breastfeeding.  In addition, the naturally sweet taste makes this drink more enjoyable than water.

Athletes often use coconut water-based sports drinks after a workout for proper hydration.

So, while coconut water does not directly impact regulating breast milk supply, hydration and the “feel good” factor after drinking a delicious drink may be responsible for the effect you see in your milk supply.

Interestingly, most drinks like Starbucks Pink Drink and Body Armor, touted by breastfeeding mothers to be lactation boosting, are all made with either coconut water or coconut milk!!

Benefits of Drinking Coconut water while Breastfeeding

In addition to being a low calories drink, coconut water offers many health benefits (2) that breastfeeding mama should know. And if you like the taste and afford it, you should consume it while breastfeeding.

Here are several health benefits of having coconut water while breastfeeding

Provides Hydration

Coconut water is a low-calorie, electrolytes-rich drink. Electrolytes help the body maintain proper fluid balance. When you are breastfeeding, you are constantly in need of proper hydration.

Several studies have suggested that coconut water is more beneficial for rehydration after exercise because it contains electrolytes like potassium and magnesium (3-4). And this is the reason why the base of most sports drinks is coconut water.

And because breastfeeding burns 500 calories a day, you need to include coconut water in your daily diet for proper hydration. The good thing about coconut water is it tastes good!!

Improve overall Health

The lauric acid content of coconut water has antifungal, antibacterial (5), and antiviral properties that may help boost the body’s immune response.

Coconut water has also been used to improve digestion for ages. In addition, coconut water is excellent for pregnant or breastfeeding mamas suffering from heartburn or acid reflux. Unsweetened coconut water contains helpful electrolytes such as potassium, which help promote pH balance in the body, thereby controlling acid reflux or heartburn.

Coconut water has antioxidant properties (5) and has reduced blood sugar in animal studies (6-7). However, the health benefits of coconut water in humans are not established yet.

A small human study has shown that increased consumption of coconut water can reduce blood pressure (8). This may be due to the higher potassium content of coconut water.

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How Much Coconut Water to Drink While Breastfeeding?

Coconut water is a natural way to hydrate, add potassium to your diet. We usually don’t get enough potassium in our diet anyway because we do not eat enough dairy, fruits, and vegetables.

So, when it comes to how much coconut water you should drink while breastfeeding, you may need to ask that question to your dietitian or doctor.

I drank coconut water from one fresh, tender coconut or 240 ml of store-bought coconut water a day while breastfeeding. However, not everybody can get a fresh coconut depending on where they live, so be mindful about the brand of coconut water you choose to drink.

Some of the coconut water brands come with added sugar, so you need to read the label before purchasing it. Also, sometimes the flavor of coconut water differs based on the brand you choose. So, try one can of coconut water from a brand before you invest in a huge pack.

Also, there is not only one way to include coconut into your breastfeeding diet. Coconut milk, fresh coconut, shredded coconut, frozen shredded coconut, and coconut oil are all the alternatives you can include in your diet.

You can add coconut water to your lactation smoothies, mix with your favorite drink, or even cook with coconut water.

In addition to proper hydration, including healthy meals in your diet is equally important to boost your milk supply while breastfeeding.

If you struggle to plan and cook healthy meals while caring for a baby, I highly recommend checking out this easy-to-prep Breastfeeding meal plan. It contains 28 days of easy cook, 1900 calories meal plan that you will be able to cook in no time.

It is also essential not to overdo coconut water while breastfeeding. This is because coconut water contains a higher level of potassium. So those with kidney disorders may need to limit their intake as an elevated potassium level can lead to hyperkalemia (9-10).

Best Coconut water to consume while Breastfeeding

You don’t want to grab any coconut water brand that you get your hand on. As all of them are not equally created. Many of them contain added sugar. While fresh, tender coconut water is the best than store-bought, it is always not available.

I loved the Vita Coco Coconut water brand. It comes from handpicked coconut and tastes excellent over other brands that I have tried.  

Another brand that I tried and tasted great is C2O Pure Coconut Water. The coconut water comes from a fresh coconut from Thailand. You can get it from Amazon here.

How to choose a fresh green Coconut?

Green coconut fruits on the ground
Photo by Utsman Media on Unsplash

If you find fresh coconut available in your area, choose the green one throughout without many brown spots.

Coconuts are usually heavy when you carry them because of their water content. If you carry the coconut and don’t feel heavy, do not pick that one because water may have leaked from that coconut.

Also, hold the coconut up to your ear and shake it vigorously. You will feel the water moving inside as it is filled with water. But if you hear a sloshing sound, do not pick that one because either it is mature or leaky.

You also want to check the top and bottom of the coconut for soft spots or mold build-up.

Coconut Water Lactation Smoothie

If you don’t like the taste of plain coconut water, there are other ways you can include coconut water in your diet. The best way to hide the flavor of coconut water is to add it to your favorite smoothie recipe. Replace it with the liquid part of the recipe with coconut water, and you are done.

Here is my lactation boosting coconut water lactation Smoothie Recipe.

Ingredients

Instructions

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend it until smooth

Note – I highly recommend adding Milk dust lactation powder into your smoothies as it is excellent for boosting milk supply. Also, increase or decrease the quantity of coconut milk depending upon the consistency of the smoothie you like.

Coconut water Vs. Coconut milk while Breastfeeding

Coconut water and Coconut milk are two different coconut products. The coconut water is naturally found within the fruit. At the same time, coconut milk is a processed by-product of coconut flesh.

Coconut milk is made by grating the coconut’s flesh (inside white part) and simmering it in hot water. It is thick in consistency and generally uses dairy alternatives or a thickening agent for food preparation.

Coconut water is 94% water and carb while having no protein or fat (11), while coconut milk is predominantly fat and lower water. However, both are excellent sources of minerals and vitamins

You can use coconut water and coconut milk in your diet while breastfeeding. If you need to go dairy-free while breastfeeding (if your baby is allergic), you can use coconut milk.

So, how to include coconut milk in your breastfeeding diet?

You can use coconut milk in your soup or use it in your recipe. I love to use coconut milk in a lactation smoothie recipe. The base of the famous lactation-boosting Starbucks Pink Drink is coconut milk!!

Conclusion

I hope this article clarified your questions regarding the use of coconut water while breastfeeding. While it isn’t a magical drink that will overnight boost your milk supply (there is no magic food or drink!), it surely helps with hydration as it is rich in the electrolyte.

Coconut water is naturally sweetened with virtually no fat, so if you like its taste, you can drink it while breastfeeding. It will help replenish lost electrolytes and add to your daily nutrients while breastfeeding.

And it is 100% better than those sugary drinks that some mamas use for hydration while breastfeeding.

If you are still struggling to boost your milk supply, I highly recommend adding Milk dust powder or brewer’s yeast into your diet in addition to coconut water or coconut milk. And here are alternative fluids for hydration while breastfeeding other than water.

Also, when you are trying to boost your milk supply, make sure you are eating three healthy, nutritious meals a day plus snacks in between to keep up with the increased calorie demand.

Suppose you think you are not getting enough nutrients through diet. In that case, I highly recommend taking postnatal vitamins and making yourself a nutrient-dense lactation smoothie and sipping it throughout the day. Also, check out this 28-day Breastfeeding meal plan that will help you whip a 1900 calorie nutritious meal in no time.

Good luck, mama!!

References

  1. Rees R, Barnett J, Marks D, George M. Coconut water-induced hyperkalemia. Br J Hosp Med (Lond) 2012;73:534. View abstract.
  2. DebMandal M, Mandal S. Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.: Arecaceae): health promotion and disease prevention. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2011;4(3):241-247. doi:10.1016/s1995-7645(11)60078-3
  3. Kalman DS, Feldman S, Krieger DR, Bloomer RJ. Comparison of coconut water and a carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drink on hydration and physical performance measures in exercise-trained men. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Jan 18;9(1):1. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-1. PMID: 22257640; PMCID: PMC3293068.
  4. Laitano, O., Trangmar, S J., Marins, D D M., Menezes, E S. & Reis, G D S. (2014) Improved exercise capacity in  the  heat  followed  by  coconut  water  consumption. Motriz:  Revista de Educação Física, 20, 107-111
  5. Rukmini JN, Manasa S, Rohini C, Sireesha LP, Ritu S, Umashankar GK. Antibacterial Efficacy of Tender Coconut Water (Cocos nucifera L) on Streptococcus mutans: An In-Vitro Study. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. 2017;7(2):130-134. doi:10.4103/jispcd.JISPCD_275_16
  6. Geetha., Mohankumara, S., Chetana, R., GopalaKrishnaA, G., & SureshKumar, G. (2016). Effect of Shelf Stable Concentrates of Tender Coconut Water and Testa Phenolics on Lipid Profile and Liver Antioxidant Enzymes in High Fat Fed Rats.
  7. Pinto IFD, Silva RP, Chaves Filho A, Dantas LS, Bispo VS, Matos IA, et al. Study of antiglycation, hypoglycemic, and nephroprotective activities of the green dwarf variety coconut water (Cocos nucifera L.) in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. J Med Food. 2015;18(7):802-809. doi:10.1089/jmf.2014.0046
  8. Hs G, Tekade AP, Gullapalli NH. Effect of supplementation of tender coconut water on blood pressure of primary hypertensive subjects. Int J Med Res Health Sci. 2013;2(2):172. doi:10.5958/j.2319-5886.2.2.024
  9. Mutig K, Bachmann S. Hyperkalemia and blood pressure regulation. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2019 Dec 1;34(Suppl 3):iii26-iii35. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfz218. PMID: 31800077.
  10. Palmer BF, Clegg DJ. Diagnosis and treatment of hyperkalemia. Cleve Clin J Med. 2017 Dec;84(12):934-942. doi: 10.3949/ccjm.84a.17056. PMID: 29244647.
  11. Yong JW, Ge L, Ng YF, Tan SN. The chemical composition and biological properties of coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) water. Molecules. 2009;14(12):5144-5164. Published 2009 Dec 9. doi:10.3390/molecules14125144

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