Oats for Babies – Health Benefits & Recipes

Oats for Babies - Health Benefits & Recipes

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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 his growth during this time. However, once your baby touches the six-month mark, he is not only ready for new foods but will also need them for proper growth and development. Many parents lean towards fruits and vegetables when they begin to introduce new foods to their babies. However, when the same fruits and vegetables are fed along with other foods that are high in energy, the nutritional value increases considerably. Oats are one such food that we shall discuss in this article. Read on to know more.

Video: Oats for Babies – Benefits and Recipes

Are Oats Good for Babies?

Oats are considered a good food option for babies as they are rich in minerals, vitamins, fibre and antioxidants. They are thus a good source of energy for your baby. Oats also aid digestion and are very light in comparison to rice. It has been found that oats are the only cereal that the least number of children are allergic to. However, it is still recommended that you consult a paediatrician before you start feeding oats to your baby to rule out any adverse reactions.

When Can You Start Feeding Oats to Your Baby?

You can start feeding oats to your baby once he turns seven months. Begin with simple oat recipes like oats porridge. When your baby is comfortable with oats porridge, add flavours by adding fruits and veggies. But, ensure that you introduce only one additional ingredient at a time to gauge his likes and dislikes, and to check for allergies.

Health Benefits of Oats for Infants

Oats are packed with nutrition, and have many health benefits, particularly for infants. Here are some of them:

1. Bone Development and Neurological Functioning

Oats contain minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and magnesium that are essential for the development of your baby. Here’s a brief on how each mineral contributes towards the growth and development of your little one.

  • Calcium and phosphorous build bone strength, so that your baby has strong bones.
  • Iron maintains the levels of haemoglobin and helps tackle anaemia.
  • Potassium and sodium are known to aid in developing the neurological functions in the body.
  • Magnesium helps generate energy and improve dental and bone health in infants.

2. Enables Healthy Growth

The presence of vitamins like folate, vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin make oats an essential supplement for the growth and development of your baby. 

3. Lowers the Risk of Attack by Free Radicals

Oats has a healthy amount of antioxidants that can lower the risk of attack by free radicals in the body and should, therefore, be an essential part of a baby’s diet.

4. Provides Energy

Every 100 grams of oatmeal provides 400 kcal of energy for babies. This energy is essential for infants in their developmental stage as it aids their growth spurts. 

5. Eases Digestion

Oats have a high amount of dietary fibre which is required for a proper bowel movement. Because your baby’s digestive system is still developing, oats can aid digestion without putting any strain on your baby’s system.

Rolled oats

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 407 kcal
Protein 11.08 g Total Lipid (fat) 9.5 g
Carbohydrates 68.5 g Fibre 10 g
Sugars 3.8 g Calcium 54 mg
Iron 2.5 mg Magnesium 106 mg
Phosphorous 610 mg Potassium 420 mg
Sodium 9.5 mg Zinc 5.39 mg
Thiamin 0.8 mg Riboflavin 3.313 mg
Niacin 1.0 mg Vitamin B-6 0.563 mg
Folate 56 ug Vitamin E 0.1 mg

Types of Oats Your Baby Can Eat

There are several types of oats that are safe for babies to consume. Here are some of them:

  • Baby oatmeal cereal is easily available in powdered form. You only need to mix it with breast milk or water and feed your little one.
  • If you cannot find baby oatmeal cereal, you can feed your baby normal oatmeal Just cook it properly and puree it to form a smooth paste.
  • Instant pre-cut oatmeal is another option you could use. Although it is not recommended as pre-cut oatmeal is the most processed form of oatmeal, it can be used only where there is no other option.
  • Then, there are the rolled oats which also need to be cooked in boiling water for at least five to six minutes. Ensure you mash the cooked oats before and only then feed your baby.
  • Steel-cut oats can also be fed to babies. Although these aren’t easy to find, they are known to be quite delectable.

So, now you know which oats to feed your little one, let’s take a look at how to select them and how to store them.

How to Select and Store Oats

While your baby can eat most kinds of oats, it is best to refrain from giving him 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 them in airtight containers and keep them in a cool and dry place to make them last longer. If your house is warm, you can keep the container in the refrigerator.

Things to Remember While Feeding Oats to Your Baby

Before you introduce oats to your baby, you must remember a few things to ensure your baby gets the most benefits of this food item.

  • 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 till they are soft enough for the baby to digest them easily.
  • Give your baby plain cooked oats the first time and check if he has an allergic reaction. You can feed your baby oats pudding with additions of fruits if there are no allergies. However, if there is one, consult the doctor immediately.

Oats Recipes for Babies

If you plan on introducing oats to your baby, here are some simple recipes that can help you.

1. Apple Oats Porridge Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4th cup of regular oats
  • 1 cup of water
  • One apple, peeled and grated or pureed

Method

  • Boil the oats in 1 cup of water. You may powder the oats and then boil them for a smoother consistency.
  • Keep stirring regularly to prevent it from getting burnt.
  • Once the oats are cooked, add the grated/pureed apple and stir well.
  • You may cook the mixture for a couple more minutes.
  • Let it cool completely before feeding it to your baby.

2. Simple Oats Porridge Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4th cup of oats
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4th cup of breast milk

Method

  • Boil the oats in a cup of water. Ensure you cook them thoroughly.
  • Mix this porridge with breast milk.
  • Bring it to room temperature before feeding your baby.

3. Baby Oatmeal and Banana Bars Recipe

This recipe is great finger food for older babies.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup ground oats
  • 1 mashed banana

Method

  • Combine the cooked oats and mashed bananas.
  • Press this mixture into shapes of your choice.
  • Keep them on a baking tray.
  • Bake at 180 degree Celsius for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • If you want to keep the bars chewy, you may bake them for a shorter period.

4. Banana and Oats Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4th cup of oats
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 banana, pureed

Method

  • Cook the oats in a cup of water till they are soft.
  • Add pureed banana and stir well.
  • Serve when cooled.

5. Vegetable Oats

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon diced carrots
  • 2 tablespoon diced potatoes
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2-3 cups of water
  • A pinch of salt (optional)

Method

  • In a pan, pour some water and boil the vegetables till they are soft.
  • Add the oats and boil it till it is cooked properly.
  • You may add more water if needed.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Let the dish cool down before feeding it to your baby.

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 a paediatrician. As much as possible, try providing organic food items to your baby for best benefits.

References and Resources

amaraorganicfoods.com

Also Read: Healthy and Delicious Oats Recipes for Babies