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Until six months of age, it is ideal if your baby is only breastfed, as breast milk has all the nutrients required for growth during this time. However, once your baby touches the six-month mark, she is not only ready for new foods but will also need them for proper growth and development. While parents usually lean towards fruits and vegetables for high-fibre food sources for their babies, oats also make for great food that can be introduced to your little one.
Are Oats Good for Babies?
Oats are considered very good food for babies as they are rich in fibre and also easily digestible. They are also a good source of energy for your baby and are very light in comparison to rice. They are also found to have the least cases of allergic reactions among the cereals available. However, it is a good idea to consult your baby’s paediatrician before you start giving oats to your baby to rule out any adverse reactions.
When Can Your Baby Start Having Oats?
You can start giving your baby oats as early as at six months of age. Simple recipes of oats porridge for babies can be given alongside fruits and vegetables. But ensure that you introduce one food at a time to your baby to gage her likes and dislikes.
Health Benefits of Oats for Infants
Packed with nutrition, oats have many health benefits, particularly for infants. Some of them are,
1. Rich in Minerals
Oats are packed with minerals that are essential for the development of your baby like calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and magnesium. Calcium and phosphorous aid in bone building, iron increases the quantity of haemoglobin in the body and potassium and sodium are known to aid in neurological functions in the body. Magnesium helps generate energy and improves dental and bone health in infants.
2. Good Source of Vitamins
The presence of vitamins like folate, vitamin B-6, vitamin K and vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, make oats an essential supplement for the growth and development of your infant.
3. High in Antioxidants
Antioxidants can lower the risk of attack by free radicals in the body and are an essential part of a baby’s diet. Along, with minerals and vitamins, oats are also high in antioxidants that are important for a baby.
4. Good Source of Energy
Every 100 g of oatmeal provides 400 kcal of energy for babies. This energy is essential for infants in the developmental stage and also to aid their growth spurts.
5. Easy Digestion
Oats have a high amount of dietary fibre which is excellent for bowel movement, thus aiding easy digestion. This quality is also ideal for babies as their digestive system is still developing.
Nutritional Value of Oats
Oats are rich in nutrients vital for your baby. Here is a complete list of nutrients that oats contain
|Type of nutrition||Quantity ( per 100 g serving)||Type of nutrition||Quantity ( per 100 g serving)|
|Vitamin K||4.1 mg||Energy||399 kcal|
|Protein||13.07 g||Total Lipid (fat)||8 g|
|Carbohydrates||69.65 g||Fiber||9 g|
|Sugars||3.8 g||Calcium||707 mg|
|Iron||51.25 mg||Magnesium||138 mg|
|Phosphorous||610 mg||Potassium||420 mg|
|Sodium||4 mg||Zinc||5.39 mg|
|Thiamin||2.805 mg||Riboflavin||3.313 mg|
|Niacin||28.43 mg||Vitamin B-6||0.563 mg|
|Folate||35 ug||Vitamin E||4.95 mg|
Types of Oats Your Baby Can Eat
There are several types of oats that are safe for consumption for babies.
- Baby oatmeal cereal is available in a ground form and only needs to be mixed with milk or water.
- Normal oatmeal that can be cooked and pureed to a smooth paste.
- Instant oatmeal that is easy to cook and is pre-cut.
- Rolled oats that need to be cooked first using boiling water for at least five or six minutes.
- Steel cut oats can also be given. Although these aren’t easy to find they are known to be quite delectable.
How to Select and Store Oats?
While your baby can eat most kinds of oats, it is best to refrain from giving her instant oatmeal or anything that is over-processed as it will be left with little to no nutrition to offer. Hence, the best move is to find steel cut or regular oats for your baby. Store oats in airtight containers and keep them in a dry place to make them last longer. If your house is warm, you can keep the container in the refrigerator.
Things to Remember While Giving Oats to Your Baby
Keep in mind the following things before you introduce oats to your baby.
- Only start solids after six months of regular breastfeeding in order to avoid any adverse reactions to the food.
- Select the right kind of oats that are semi-processed or steel cut.
- Boil the oats properly for about 20 to 30 minutes or a little longer for babies, in order to soften them and make them easily digestible.
- Give your baby plain oats the first time and check if she has an allergic reaction. If she doesn’t you can continue giving her oats with additions of fruits. If she has a reaction, consult a doctor immediately.
Oats Recipes for Babies
If you plan on introducing oats to your baby, here’s how to make them with these simple recipes.
1. Apple oats porridge recipe
- Boil ¼ cup of regular oats with 1 cup of water. You may powder the oats and then boil them for smoother consistency for babies. Keep stirring regularly to prevent burning.
- Peel an apple and grate it. Puree it for younger babies.
- Once the oats are cooked, add the apple and stir well. You may cook the mixture some more or let it cool.
- Serve it to your baby once it is cool
2. Simple Oats Porridge Recipe
- Boil ¼ cup of oats in 1 cup of water and let them cook thoroughly.
- Mix this porridge with formula or milk, and serve it once it’s cool.
3. Baby Oatmeal and Banana Bars Recipe (good for older babies as finger foods)
- Combine ground oats and mashed bananas.
- Press this mix into shapes of your choice on a baking tray.
- Bake at 180 degree Celsius for 10 to 15 minutes; shorter, if you want to keep it chewy.
4. Banana and Oats Recipe
- Cook ¼ cup of oats in 1 cup of water until they are cooked and you’ve achieved the desired consistency.
- Add pureed banana to this and stir well.
- Serve when cooled.
Oatmeal for babies is a great supplement once they are ready to try solid foods. Remember to introduce new foods to your baby gradually and after proper consultation with your paediatrician. As much as possible, try providing organic food items to your baby for the best benefits.