Coconut oil is arguably the most versatile product in one's home — use it for cooking, use it for beauty, and use it for your sore, chapped, breastfeeding nipples. But can you put coconut oil on your baby or does the magic oil have a cut-off for its powers? I mean, if coconut oil will help cure your dry, cracked nipples, surely it can do wonders (and be safe) for your little one.
Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology (FAAD), is a board-certified pediatrician and pediatric dermatologist, and tells Romper that yes, coconut oil can be a great choice for moisturizing the skin, especially your baby's. "Natural oils are great for moisturizing the skin and helping to recreate the natural skin barrier, which is often damaged by frequent hand, face, and body washing with water and drying soaps that strip the skin of its natural protective oils," Shainhouse says. She notes that coconut oil has no potentially irritating additives, such as alcohol, fragrances, preservatives, or dyes, which makes it a great option for people with sensitive skin, like your baby.
Dr. Jennifer Yakimishyn of Foundation Chiropractic, a chiropractor specializing in pregnancy and pediatrics, tells Romper that she specifically encourages the use of coconut oil on babies. "I tell my patients to put it on their baby's head to help with cradle cap," she says. "Cradle cap is something that most babies experience, but I believe that coconut oil helps speed up the healing and I have seen good results with many patients."
Yakimishyn notes that there is only one particular case in which coconut oil did not work on a patient, but she says that the baby had an underlying allergy to coconut oil. "I caution parents to test it out on a small area and make sure no rash develops," she adds.
If you're concerned about your baby ingesting coconut oil, don't be. "Coconut oil is edible, it is a natural antibiotic, and it is high in healthy fats — good things that babies need," Yakimishyn says.
So how should you put it on your baby? According to Shainhouse, you can add a few tablespoons of coconut oil to your little one's bath water, rub it on their hands after they are washed, and use it to moisturize your baby's skin while it's still damp. Because it is moisturizing and anti-inflammatory, Shainhouse also notes that coconut oil is great for all skin types and can be used before bed as a barrier cream, especially after being patted dry from a bath.
Go ahead and skip the fancy baby lotions if you want. As long as your baby isn't suffering from a sensitivity to coconut oils, you can make coconut oil a part of your baby's skin care routine. Just try not to gobble them up when they smell like a tropical island after their bath.