Oatmeal: A Good First Food
Oatmeal: A Good First Food – and Bath! – for Baby
by Maggie Mead
Oatmeal makes a warm, tasty and highly nutritious food for baby!
There are few foods that are more warming and delightfully filling than a piping bowl of oatmeal on a cold morning. Don't keep this yummy dish all to yourself, share it with your baby! While the recommended age for introducing solid foods is generally 6 months of age, most pediatricians say that introducing oats/oatmeal to your baby is fine between 4-6 months of age. Oats are a wonderfully healthy grain and they may be one of baby's first foods. Easy to digest and less binding than rice, oatmeal brings fiber, calcium, protein and even some B vitamins to your baby's growing body!
For babies, another wonderful thing about oats is that they are not considered an allergy risk. Oats are not known to be highly allergenic however they may contain traces of gluten. Oats do not contain the same gluten as wheat however they may become contaminated with the gluten from other grains such as wheat. Oats are commonly processed together with grains that do contain gluten. If your family has a history of celiac disease, it would be prudent for you to ask your pediatrician about the introduction of oats to your baby.
When you decide to introduce oats into your baby's diet, try to purchase steel cut oats rather than rolled, quick cook or instant oat(meal)s. Steel cut oats are minimally processed; they are simply cut into small bits so they retain their natural levels of fiber, protein, calcium and more! The only negative with steel cut oats is that they are more difficult to grind into a powdery texture. We find using a small food processor works best but not perfectly! And now you're wondering, "why would I grind the oats in a food processor?" aren't you?
If your baby is just starting solid foods and is getting used to new textures, grinding oats into a powdery texture will help you make a smooth cooked cereal. To grind the oats, take 1 cup of oats, put them into your food processor or blender and then whizz until they have been reduced to a powder. Don't worry if a few bits remain, you can always cook the oats and then puree them into baby cereal. It's important to know that homemade oatmeal baby cereal will have more little lumps and bumps than commercial baby cereal. There are many babies who enjoy foods with a hearty texture and not all babies need to have thin, runny and pasty cereals. You should let your baby decide if she's ready for the texture and not let the lumps and bumps discourage you. Your baby will let you know if she likes it or not!
Here are a few tasty oatmeal recipes that babies enjoy:
Oatmeal Baby Cereal (make it Organic by using Organic Rolled or Steel Cut Oats!)
1/4 cup of ground oats
3/4-1 cup water
- Bring liquid to boil in saucepan. Add the oatmeal powder while stirring constantly.
- Simmer for 10 minutes, whisking constantly, mix in formula or breast milk and fruits if desired
- Serve warm.
Apples -n- Oats
1 small apple
1/4 cup ground oats
3/4 cup of water
- Peel, core and then cut a small apple into small dices
- Place apple dices in a pan with 1/4 c ground oats and 3/4 c water
- Bring mixture to a slow boil. Simmer covered, checking frequently, until apples are soft and oatmeal is cooked.
- Stir and mash while cooking
- Mix in formula or breast milk or juice to thin if needed - puree if necessary
(Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon in the cereal if baby is ready for or has already had cinnamon.)
Uncommonly Good Oatmeal Scramble - A yummy finger food
Age: 8 months +
1 cup of cooked oatmeal
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup soft cooked (mashed or pureed) veggies or fruits of your choice
1 teaspoon olive oil
- Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan
- Whisk the 2 egg yolks in a bowl
- Add the oatmeal and fruits or veggies to the warmed frying pan and stir
- Add whisked egg yolks and gently scramble and fry until the yolks are fully cooked
Break the Oatmeal Scramble into small pieces that your baby will easily manage and chew. You can also offer up a fruit puree as a dipping sauce. This dish may be pureed.
Oatmeal is not only good for baby's tummy, it's also great for baby's delicate skin! You can create your own homemade oatmeal bath for your little one with these simple instructions:
Oatmeal Bath "Sachet"
What you need:
- old stocking – such as knee-hi's or another type of sheer nylon stocking
- cups of Old Fashioned or Rolled Oats
How to make it for you:
Place 2 cups of Oats into one leg of the stocking; tie a knot at the end to close the stocking.
Turn on the bath water, full force and at a warm temperature. Hang the stocking under faucet so that the water passes through it. When the tub has filled to your desired depth, "swirl" and swish stocking back & forth through water 5 or 6 times.
After the swirling and swishing, lift the oatmeal stocking just above water and wring it so you can squeeze water and the oatmeal "starch" out of stocking. Now, bathe in soft and soothing water!
How to make it for baby:
Use the same method above only cut the oats to 1 cup. You can either fill baby's tub directly or use a clean bucket to make the water for baby's bath. If you use the bucket method, simply transfer the oatmeal bath water to baby's tub when you are ready to bathe her.
Oatmeal Bath Sprinkle
What you need:
1 cup of Old Fashioned or Rolled Oats
Food processor or blender
How to make it:
Place 1 cup Old Fashioned or Rolled Oats into food processor or blender; grind oats into finest powder possible.
Take the ground oats to the bathtub and turn water on to full force, using warm water. Slowly sprinkle oat powder under the running water. Stir and swirl the water thoroughly to avoid clumping or settling. We used a whisk in the tub to help with the clumping – whisk as you sprinkle.
Now, bathe in soft and soothing water!
How to make it for baby:
Use the same method above only cut the oats to 1/2 cup. You can either fill baby's tub directly or use a clean bucket to make the water for baby's bath. Using a large bucket to prepare the water will enable you to minimize clumping better. If you use the bucket method, simply transfer the oatmeal bath water to baby's tub when you are ready to bathe her.