Oatmeal for Babies

May 1, 2020


Should you give oatmeal to babies? Do you need to give a special kind of oatmeal, or will any old oats do? I’m answering all your questions about oatmeal for babies and toddlers here!

Baby cereal or regular oatmeal for babies?

Baby cereal comes in many different forms. Since the realization that many baby cereals that contain rice also contain heavy metals, the recommendations from organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics have changed. They now recommend serving oat based cereals instead of rice.

The main benefit of serving a specific baby oatmeal is that it is usually fortified with iron. Iron is one of the big nutrients of concern for babies, and something that we want to be serving every day and at most meals. 

But regular old oats also contain iron! While not always in the same quantities, it is there and can be considered an iron-rich food. As long as you are focusing on iron-rich foods at every meal, there is really no need to serve a special baby oatmeal. Although there’s certainly no harm in it, either.

Oatmeal for Babies || New Ways Nutrition

Are rolled oats safe for babies?

I get many questions about the texture of oats when babies are first starting off with solid foods. Especially if you are doing baby led weaning there is no need to be worried about rolled oats. They can be served right from the beginning of solid foods around 6 months

If you are serving your baby strictly purees for those first few weeks, your baby might have a harder time accepting something that isn’t completely smooth. But it is still safe for them! You can always grind the oats yourself if you are concerned, although at that point you would be better off just buying baby cereal.

My go-to oatmeal recipe

I also get asked all the time about how to make oats for babies. The great news is oats are such a versatile base that it’s really hard to go wrong. Start with these recipes I’m sharing, and then make adjustments as you go to make them how you prefer. And switch up the toppings as often as you want! Changing the toppings can make oatmeal completely different, and allow you to serve it much for frequently without your baby getting bored.

When it comes down to whether you should make oatmeal for babies with milk or not, I prefer making oats with milk or some other calorically-dense liquid to help babies get in all the calories that they need. Babies really take relatively few bites for how many nutrients they need. The more calories we can get into one bite the better. No need to worry about calcium interfering with iron absorption as long as you are not going overboard on dairy products throughout the day.

Basic Oatmeal for Babies

Basic oatmeal with chia seeds, peanut butter, and ground walnuts.
Course Breakfast

Ingredients
  

For the Oatmeal:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup milk (whole milk or plant based milk is fine here)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 banana thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

For the toppings:

  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp ground walnuts

Instructions
 

  • Add oats, milk, water, and banana to a pot.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until oats start to become creamy. Cook longer for a thicker consistency, shorter for a soupier consistency. Ecperiment with what works best for your baby!
  • Right before you remove from heat, stir in chia seeds. They will soak up liquid and thicken the oatmeal slightly. Pour oatmeal into a bowl.
  • Top with peanut butter by stirring it thoroughly into the oatmeal. (clumps of peanut butter are a choking hazard under 4!) Sprinkle walnuts on top.
Keyword Baby Led Weaning Friendly, Quick Meals

Steel-Cut Oatmeal for Babies

Course Breakfast
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

For the Oatmeal:

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup milk whole milk or plant-based milk is fine here
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

For the Toppings:

  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tbsp frozen and defrosted raspberries
  • 1 tsp ground walnuts

Instructions
 

  • Add oats, milk, and water to a pot.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until oats start to become creamy. Cook longer for a thicker consistency, shorter for a soupier consistency. Experiment with what works best for your baby!
  • Right before you remove from heat, stir in chia seeds. They will soak up liquid and thicken the oatmeal slightly. Pour oatmeal into a bowl.
  • Top with almond butter by stirring it thoroughly into the oatmeal. (clumps of almond butter are a choking hazard under 4!) stir in berries and ground walnuts or simply add on top.
Keyword Baby Led Weaning Friendly, Quick Meals

The Bottom Line on Oatmeal for Babies

Oatmeal can be a great way to get nutrients into your baby. Whether you choose baby oatmeal or regular oatmeal, there are endless possibilities of how to prepare it. Whatever way you choose, make sure you vary toppings and other add-ins to help expose your baby to a wide variety of flavors and textures!

PIN IT FOR LATER

Oatmeal for Babies || New Ways Nutrition

About the Author

Mom. Dietitian. Food Lover. I find joy in helping others relieve the stress of meal times and feeding their children, from the first bite on!

Renae D'Andrea

  • Yay for oats! We eat a ton of them with my 14 month old. Would you say overnight/oats that are soaked, not cooked are also appropriate for young eaters? (Congrats on the new addition, by the way!)

  • Yes, overnight oats could work as long as you make sure that they are thoroughly softened.

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