Ready for Solids? Try Oatmeal
Baby oatmeal is made in much the same way as oatmeal for kids and adults, except breast milk or formula is added to the tiny tyke version. This helps babies who are just starting to eat solid foods accept it when they taste something familiar. Single-grain cereals, like baby oatmeal, are an ideal way to start your little one on solids. You can monitor any reactions or allergies and immediately know which food is responsible.
Oral and Physical Skills
If you start noticing signs at around 4 to 6 months that your daughter’s oral and physical skills are improving and getting stronger, then it may be time to try solid foods, such as oatmeal. The independent movements are an indication that your baby can sit up while eating and digesting, as well as move food around in her mouth and swallow without a problem.
For example, signs might include her ability to push herself up with her arms when she’s on her stomach or to sit up with only a little support from you or the back of a chair or pillow. Another sign is if she is able to turn her neck to the left and right without any problem.
If your daughter is unwilling to take the food into her mouth or constantly moves away from the spoon, she may be telling you that she's not ready for solid foods. Babies progress at a quick rate at this age, so try again in a few days.
Comforting, Delicious and Good for You
It's common for rice cereal to be the first solid food that babies experience because it's usually well tolerated by tiny tummies. Oatmeal is often second. The soft whole-grain cereal with a natural slight sweetness goes down pretty easy and usually with no unpleasant side effects. Along with helping to alleviate constipation, oatmeal contains numerous vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, B1 and B2, niacin, folate, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and many others.
Babies need to start consuming foods that contain iron at around 6 months old, which is when their iron stores start to become depleted. Iron is needed for healthy growth and development. Oatmeal contains 2.11 milligrams of iron per cup, which will help contribute to the overall daily need of 11 milligrams for babies 7 to 12 months old.
Oatmeal, Baby Style
Preparing oatmeal for your baby is very similar to cooking oatmeal for your other kids, though with a special addition. In a saucepan, combine ¼-cup oats with ½-cup cold water. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat when all the water is absorbed.
Mix in 3 to 5 tablespoons of breast milk or formula. The familiar flavor will help your baby accept the new food. You can also puree the oats in a blender or food processor if the oatmeal is too thick or chunky or your kiddo is having trouble moving it around in his mouth and swallowing. Consider adding applesauce or mashed bananas for a delicious and sweet treat.
Watch Out for Allergies
An allergy to oatmeal is rare, but not impossible. Whenever you introduce a new food to your baby, you should keep an eye out for a possible allergic reaction, which will likely appear within minutes to a few hours after eating. Symptoms can include sudden flushed or redness to the skin, rash, hives or welts, swelling in the face or tongue and lips, difficult breathing, sudden wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of consciousness. Call your pediatrician for mild reactions, such as hives. More serious reactions require an immediate call to 911. Speak to your physician if you fear your baby will have a reaction or after one has happened about foods your baby should avoid in the future.
Feeding oatmeal to your baby can reveal a gluten intolerance or possibly even celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease affecting the intestines. Signs of gluten problems can resemble allergy symptoms, including bloating, vomiting and diarrhea. Contact your pediatrician if your baby experiences any of these symptoms.