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Can Babies Eat Oats? A Guide to Introducing Oatmeal to Your Little One.

Updated: Apr 12

Oats are a wholesome and nutritious grain, that often find their way onto the list of recommended first foods for babies. But can babies eat oats? Do you need to use baby oats? Let's explore the ins and outs of incorporating oatmeal into your baby's diet.




Nutritional Value of Oats

Oats are packed with essential nutrients, making them an excellent addition to a baby's diet. They are a gedfr35ttg which are essential for healthy growth and development. Additionally, oats contain vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, all of which play crucial roles in growth and development.

Benefits of Oats for Babies:

  1. Nutrient-rich: Oats provide a range of essential nutrients 36for your baby's growth and development.

  2. Fibre: The fibre in oats can aid digestion and help prevent constipation.

  3. Versatile: Oats can be prepared in various ways, allowing you to customize the texture and flavour to suit your baby's skills.


When Can Babies Start Eating Oats?

Evidenced-based guidelines recommend introducing solid foods, that can include oats, to babies around six months of age, when they are developmentally ready.

So when your baby is developmentally ready oats can be introduced.


Choosing the right type of oats

There can be lots of varieties of oats on the supermarket shelves.


  • For babies choose plain, 100% oats, rather than flavoured or instant varieties, which may contain added sugars like honey and artificial ingredients. It’s best to avoid giving your baby instant oats sweetened or artificially flavoured, so be sure to check the nutrition facts table on the products you purchase!


  • You may choose to use 100% quick oats or rolled oats which tend to be good textures for baby when cooked. Rolled oats will provide a more chewy texture, compared to quick oats, which will provide a smoother texture that’s not as chewy, both are suitable from 6 months of age. Avoid steel-cut oats until your child is over 12 months of age


  • Choosing organic oats can offer several benefits and reduce exposure to inorganic pesticides and chemicals. Organic oats are grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. This means that choosing organic reduces your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals that can be present in conventionally grown oats. For babies and young children, whose bodies are still developing and may be more vulnerable to the effects of pesticides, opting for organic can provide added peace of mind.


Do I have to use baby oats or porridge?

No, baby cereals, oat-based or rice cereal, do not have to be a baby's first food and are not necessarily a 'better' choice than plain wholegrain oats. Baby oats are usually recommended and marketed as a first food because they contain added iron.

It is important to note that the added iron in baby oats is synthetic iron, which is not as readily absorbed by the body. The bioavailability (how much iron your baby will absorb) of iron consumed from baby cereals fortified with synthetic iron is usually assumed to be around 10% (for more on infant rice cereal and iron check out my blog).


Additionally oat-based baby cereals for babies < 12 months typically use oat flour and a mix of rice flour, rather than 100% wholegrain oats. So there is much less fibre present. The reduced fibre along with the synthetic iron can increase the chances of a child developing constipation.


Baby oats are also expensive!

Most brands can be as much as $4.50 - $5.00 for 125g which equates to $36 per kilo.

Compared to 100% rolled organic oats which is as little as $2.75 for 500g or $5.50 per kilo.


Iron foods are important, many naturally rich iron-rich foods can be offered instead of or in addition to infant cereals if you choose to use them.


How to serve oats to your baby 6-12 months

Make sure to cook oats until they are soft and easily mashable, especially for younger babies.

Oats can be cooked in water, then you can add in breastmilk or infant formula. Once dairy has been introduced as a food allergen and tolerated you can also use full cream milk to cook oats.


You can also add different fruit purees, and mashed fruits, or experiment with different toppings and mix-ins, such as nut butter, to add flavour and nutritional variety to your baby's oatmeal.


Oats can be served in a bowl for hand scooping, on a pre-loaded spoon for self-feeding, or you can also make my favourite oaty lumps which are great for self-feeding.


Peanut butter and flaxseed meal oaty lumps

(suitable once dairy and peanut butter have been introduced and tolerated)




1/2 cup of rolled oats

1/2 cup of water

1 x teaspoon of peanut butter * (common allergen)

1 x teaspoon of ground flaxseed meal

1 x teaspoon of milk *(common allergen)



Method

Place the rolled oats and water in a dish and microwave for 2 minutes, or place them in a pan and cook over low heat on a stovetop, until cooked and the water is all absorbed. Mix well to almost mash most of the oats.

Add the peanut butter, flaxseed meal, and milk and stir until all combined.

Let cool slightly and then shape into finger-length lumps which are perfect for self-feeding.





For more comprehensive and evidenced-based information on starting solids with your baby, check out my best selling starting solids guide, with over 90 pages of evidenced-based information, tips, recipes and much more.





X Anna







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