Are oats a good first cereal for your baby? For many moms it can be difficult to decide between rice or oats cereal for their little one. As long as your baby doesn’t have a gluten intolerance, its personal preference to choose between oats and rice. If you’re choosing to give your baby oats, the cereal will be oatmeal either homemade or store bought. Oats are a great option because they have nutritional value and they also contain fiber so they will help avoid constipation. Some babies also simply prefer the taste of oats.
Can I Give My Baby Oats? Answer: Yes from 6 months
The World Health Organization recommend that you exclusively breastfeed your child for the first six months, but we know some mom’s prefer to start their baby onto cereals at the age of 4 months. Oats are a great first cereal for your baby, they contain many vitamins and minerals, are high in fiber, and contain calcium and protein. These will all benefit your baby. Steel cut oats are best as they retain most of the nutrients and are not highly processed.
Do oats contain gluten?
Oats may contain traces of gluten, although they are not known to be highly allergenic. Oats do not contain the same gluten that you find in wheat, but due to the way many grains are processed they may become contaminated with the gluten from other grains. The producers of oats will make a note on their packaging whether the oats have been processed alone or with other grains. If your family does have a history of celiac disease or gluten intolerance it is best to speak with your health care professional before starting your little one on cereals.
Sometimes cereals can have an adverse effect on your little one. If your baby is suffering with a bloated tummy or seems to be suffering discomfort, it may be something that you are feeding your little one. Read out article on foods which may be causing your child to be gassy for more information.
Commercial oats and oatmeal
There are a variety of different infant oatmeal cereals that made ready for you to feed your little one. Often they also have a dried fruit or vegetable added. Other oatmeal is packaged as a plain dried oatmeal without any additives. it is personal preference which you choose, although when starting your little one on oatmeal for the first time its best to avoid the flavored types and stick to plain. Remember that their taste buds are different to ours, they have no experience with flavors so their first new food will be quite tasty for them. Be prepared for them to spit it out – it’s a new flavor, texture and feel for them – they are only used to breast milk or formula after all.
How To Prepare Oats
With the dry version you will be required to add breast milk or formula milk to make a creamy cereal. If this is a baby food that you are introducing to baby for the first time then you do need to make sure that it’s consistency is runny. As your little one becomes used to the taste you can decrease the amount of formula or breast milk to the cereal to make a thicker consistency. If you have bought steel cut oats for your little one you will need to blend them first to make sure that the oats are very fine for your baby’s first cereal.
Homemade Oats and Oatmeal
Many moms choose to make their own oatmeal by using whole oats. The oats are put through a food processor or blender until a fine powder is produced. You can make a generous amount of oatmeal and store in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also blend or process oatmeal every time you are going to feed your baby – it’s up to you.
To prepare the oatmeal, you need to cook the powdered oats in boiling water and then simmer the mixture for five to ten minutes stirring constantly. For every 1/4 cup of oats you will need 1 cup of water. You can adjust these quantities as you need to. If your baby is having their first cereal, they will only eat a very small amount and you may find they spit most of it back at you because it feels so different for them.
After you have introduced your little one to cereal, you can try adding other fruits and vegetables to their oatmeal. Be sure that it is blended very well so that there are no choke hazards. Remember that you should only introduce one new food at a time, so if you are considering adding fruits and vegetables to their oatmeal do it gradually.
Warnings and necessary precautions
Make sure that your baby is ready for solids before you introduce their first cereal. If you want additional guidance, the World Health Organization have an Infant and Young Children Feeding Guide that you may find useful. All babies have a young digestive system that takes time to develop before they can digest food. If you feed an infant solid foods too early this can increase the risk of allergies and can also cause diarrhea.
Some indicators that your little one may be ready for solids are that they follow your food with their eyes and they grab at your spoon as you put it into your mouth. They need to do this repeatedly, not as a one off. Your little one should be able to hold their head upright comfortably and open their mouth for a spoon on their own. Infants should have doubled their birth weight and they should have enough control of their muscles that they can move food from their mouth to their throat.
Once you have introduced solids, you need to monitor their stools carefully. If their stools are watery and loose it may indicate that their digestion is not ready for solids and you should hold off for a little while longer. If you are worried, speak to your health care professional. Always remember its not a race. Your baby’s health is important, so it doesn’t matter at what age your baby begins solids, as long as their digestion is ready and they are able to eat them comfortably you should do what is right for yourself and your baby.