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Introducing Oatmeal To Babies

 Oatmeal is a great food for babies when you are introducing solids to them. It is rich in essential nutrients such as fiber, proteins, and vitamins (1). Oats are really good for babies, but what is the right age for introducing it according to pediatricians?  It is necessary to understand the basic difference between oats and oatmeal. Oats are whole grains, while oatmeal is the processed form of oats with the hull removed. Oatmeal is what we get in the market in several variations.

Types of Oatmeal

1. Rolled oats

Rolled oats are oat flakes derived from whole oat grain. They are made by steaming dehulled (without skin) oat grains and then running them through a roller before drying. Rolled oats come in two varieties: slow-cooking and fast-cooking oats.

2. Coarse oat flour

Whole oat grain, and not refined oat grain, is pounded to form a coarse flour that is packed with fiber. An infant oat cereal mix is quite likely to contain oat flour.

3. Instant oats

This is the most processed and common type of oats. The oat grain is boiled, rolled, and then dried before packaging. Instant oats are semi-cooked and found in the ready-to-eat baby cereals that can be prepared just by adding hot or boiling water.

4. De hulled whole oat grain

 Whole oat grains are the least processed oats available in the market. De hulled whole oat grain, also called whole oat grain, is raw oats in their purest form, with nearly 100% of their nutritional value intact.

5. Steel-cut oatmeal

Whole oat grains that are cut into small bits by powerful steel blades are called steel-cut oats. They contain the same nutritional value of whole oat grains but cook faster since the grain is broken into smaller pieces.

After recognizing that there are a variety of oats, in the supermarket you shop which one is best suited for your baby, you must be thinking.

Best type of oatmeal for your baby?

Steel-cut oatmeal is the best suited for babies as they are unprocessed, and contain all the nutrients of whole oats no nutrient is lost during processing (2). You can use steel-cut oatmeal in various baby food recipes as per your choice.

 

Selecting oats: When selecting steel-cut oats or standard infant oat cereal, look and choose for options with no added preservatives, sugar, salt, and flavors.

Storage conditions: Store according to package instructions. Else general way to store is similar to any grain.

·         Place the jar of oats in a cool and dry place.

·         Make sure you keep the storage area clean and free of humidity. Avoid anti-pest tablets or sachets since they can harm the baby.

·         Purchase smaller quantities that you can consume within a short period.

·         If you want to store oats for long periods, then place it in an airtight container and put it in the freezer.

Processing oats for babies

Cooking rolled oats/infant oatmeal for a baby

·         Let the oats soak in water for a minute or two.

·         Cook them for 12-15 minutes or as per package recommendation.

·         Add water or milk to adjust the Thickness.

·         Cool it down and blend the cooked oats your choice of fruits or veggies for a healthy porridge.

Cooking steel-cut oats for babies

Steel-cut oats are whole grains and thus they require longer cooking time.

·         Boil the steel-cut oats for ten minutes and let them soak in boiled water overnight.

·         In the morning, boil the oats again, this time for 10-15 minutes on a medium flame.

·         Keep stirring so that they cook evenly.

·         Once cooked, let the oats cool. Blend to make porridge.

·         You can use milk instead of water and follow the same preparation process.

 
Oatmeal porridge
Oatmeal porridge

At what age you can give oatmeal to babies

You can introduce oatmeal to a baby at the age of six months (2). But if you want to, introduce it earlier any time after four months then you must consult your pediatrician, “not your aunt”. The doctor will examine the signs of readiness, after which the baby will be given a green signal to start solids. If this is the case, check with your doctor and introduce oats. But most doctors advice to wait till 6 months of age to introduce any type of solids.

When it comes to the beginning of a new diet plan for your baby on solid foods at the age of 6 months, you probably can’t go wrong with oatmeal. It is a highly nutritious food that is gentle on your baby’s digestive system and packed with nutrients. A few advantages of oatmeal you should consider when you start giving your child solid foods.

1. Rich in Fiber and Nutrients

Oatmeal contains high amounts of fiber, magnesium, iron, and zinc. A growing baby needs to eat foods that contain more nutrients and vitamins. Oatmeal is one of the best ways to introduce textured foods other than breast milk/ formula milk to your toddler. Oats are soft, but they retain their structure even after cooking. Oatmeal's nutritional profile and value will aid in baby's growth and development.

2. Easy  to Digest

It is highly recommended for babies to start solid foods when they attain six months of age. Oats are easy on your baby’s digestive system. Oatmeal gives the feeling of fullness and a healthy appetite. It also prevents gas formation so your baby is less cranky.

3. Your baby is not constipated

Many babies experience constipation when they are introduced to solids. Fiber-rich food like oatmeal acts as a natural laxative and keeps constipation at bay. The fiber in oatmeal adds bulk to make the bowel movement easy.

4. Fits well with fruit and vegetables

This property of blending nicely with fruits and vegetables allows you to design new recipes of your choice with your choice of fruit and vegetables for a wholesome meal. You can easily introduce mixed with milk or water for a step by step transition from only liquids to solids. Serve it warm or cold is your choice.

5. Health benefits

It can boost your child’s immunity, is a good source of energy and can improve insulin sensitivity in babies

Things to Remember

Before you run into introducing oats in your baby’s diet you must know these:

·     Start solids after six months of breastfeeding/formula feeding in order to avoid any side effects or reactions due to babies’ age.

·         Selection of semi-processed or steel-cut variety must be done carefully.

·         Cook properly according to the package instruction so that its soft enough for babies.

·      Don’t introduce a complex recipe with fruits and veggies at once, start with simple oatmeal then gradually introduce the complex porridges.

 

Oats combination ideas for bay food

Oats taste the best when combined with the following food items:

·         Milk is often the first choice to go with oats.

·     Almost all types of fruits taste good with oats. Fruits, like banana, apple, and strawberry blend well with oats.

·        Vegetables with oats for a savory porridge for babies who prefer savory over sweet.

·         Meat can also be combined with oats but precook it before blending with oatmeal.

·        Oats can also be mixed with yogurt to form smoothies for babies both flavored and plain yogurt can be used.

 

3 Simple Oats Porridge Recipe

 

Recipe 1: Oatmeal porridge

Ingredients

·         1/4th cup of oats

·         1 cup of water

·         1/4th cup of milk(breast, cow, formula)

Method

·         Boil the oats in a cup of water. Ensure you cook them properly.

·         Mix this porridge with milk.

·         Cool it down to room temperature before feeding your baby.

Recipe 2: Vegetable Oats

Ingredients

·         1 tablespoon diced and boiled carrots

·         1 tablespoon boiled peas

·         1 tablespoon diced and boiled potatoes

·         1/2 cup rolled oats

·         2 1/2 cups of water

·         Salt to taste (optional)

Method

·         Cook the oats in a cup of water till they are soft.

·         Add veggies and cook for 2 minutes.

·         Serve at room temperature.

 

Recipe 3: Banana and Oats

Ingredients

·         1/4th cup of oats

·         1 cup of water

·         1 small banana, pureed

Method

·         Cook the oats in a cup of water till they are soft.

·         Add pureed banana and stir well.

·         Serve warm or cold according to your preference.

 

Frequently Asked Questions on oatmeal.

1. Rice cereal or oatmeal which is better?

Oatmeal contains more fiber than rice cereal and is good for digestion. Some babies may develop constipation when fed only rice cereal. (4).

2. What Should I prefer organic oats or regular oats?

Purchasing organic variety is always a good idea. You can go for it.

3. How often or how much oatmeal?

Three to four tablespoons of oatmeal to your baby’s solid diet every day is enough to provide the required amount of fiber.

4. Will this lead to gas formation in babies?

No. There is no scientific evidence to say that oatmeal can lead to gassy babies.

5. Can A Baby Be Allergic To Oats?

A baby can be allergic to oats, but the chances are few.

If your baby is allergic to oats then symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, skin hives, abdominal pain, lethargy, and swelling of the face may appear.

Oats are packed with nutrients and have very little chance of causing allergies even in babies who are new to solid food. The amount of fiber and special carbohydrates in oats is more than other grains, making oatmeal more nutritious. Introduce oats to your babies diet to support their growth and development.

Do you include oatmeal in your baby’s diet? Share your valuable experience with me in the comments section below.

Citation

1.      foods – a review; National Center For Biotechnology Information (2013)

2.      Starting Solids For Infants; Framingham State College

3.       Why Steel Cut Oats?; Center For Applied Nutrition; UMASS Medical School

4.      Constipation: Infant; Nationwide Children’s

 



Comments

  1. Learned a lot. Going to try out some of the stuff I learned!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fascinating! I had no idea about the different types of oatmeal you could give to a baby.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank You. you are welcomed on my blog for more such information.

      Delete

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