How to Make Baby Oatmeal

Mom feeding baby oatmeal

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After six months of exclusive breast and/or bottle-feeding your little one, the thought of introducing solid foods can be exhilarating. Finally, your baby can experience the creamy texture of avocado and the sour taste of a lemon. It can be tricky to determine what food you want to be their first, but there might not be a gentler or filling starter food around than a simple bowl of oatmeal.

Oatmeal is recommended for babies around 6 months of age. Since it isn't a member of the wheat family, it's a safe alternative for infants who have a gluten allergy or intolerance. It's also easy on the digestive system in general, making it a nice option for developing tummies. Oatmeal is rich in fiber and acts as a natural laxative which is particularly helpful if your babe is struggling to go number two.

There is a plethora of baby-friendly oatmeal on the market, but you can also make your own. Here, we're going to dive into the best ways to prepare baby oatmeal.

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What Is Oatmeal?

There are many different types of oatmeal, but, simply put: oatmeal is a porridge type of cereal in which prepared oats have been de-husked, steamed, and flattened, then either milled or steel-cut. There are also the ever-popular rolled oats (also known as “old-fashioned”) which can be pulsed smaller to be prepared quickly depending on the package instructions.

"Oatmeal is a great first food for babies, packed with iron, fiber, and B vitamins," says Ashley Shaw, MS, RD, CDN, IFS, a registered dietitian at Preg Appetit. "It’s also easy to digest and has a mild taste."

Ultimately milled, steel-cut, and old-fashioned oats are all fine to give your baby when they are prepared properly.

What You Need to Make Baby Oatmeal

The great thing about making oatmeal is that the list of ingredients is not long.

"To make baby oatmeal you just need oats and a food processor or blender, plus a liquid to cook them in," says Shaw.

For that liquid, you can either use hot water, breast milk, or formula. Cow's milk or dairy-free alternative milks aren't recommended for children before they are a year old.

"The major difference between the oatmeal we eat as adults and the kind we give to babies is the texture of the oatmeal," says Shaw. "Baby oatmeal needs to be finer so it can cook evenly and be a consistent texture that is easy for babies to swallow. Also, you don’t need to add much, if anything, to baby oatmeal."

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make Baby Oatmeal

Gather everything you need to make the oatmeal: oats, cooking liquid, and a food processor or blender.

To get started, Shaw recommends grinding dry oats in a blender or food processor until a fine powder is formed with no large lumps. Next, cook the mixture according to the specific type of oats (quick oats vs. old-fashioned vs. steel cut) by adding in your water, formula, or breast milk and heating until the liquid is mostly absorbed and you have a creamy consistency.

Lastly, before you serve the oatmeal up to your baby, allow it to cool enough so that it isn't too hot when you offer it. Think of Goldilocks and the Three Bears here—you want that oatmeal to be just right.

"If this is baby’s first food, you don’t need to add anything else," says Shaw. "If you are trying to introduce more foods, you can add fruit and veggie purées and even some spices like cinnamon to the oatmeal."

For baby-led weaning, she suggests putting the cooled oatmeal on a spoon. Offer the loaded spoon to the baby so they can practice feeding themselves.

How Often Baby Should Eat Oatmeal

How often and how much oatmeal babies should have really boils down to your baby's age and how much of their other favorite foods they like to eat. Oatmeal isn't going to make up their entire diet, so you have to take into account other foods, like pureed fruits and veggies, they are consuming as well.

For little ones ages 6 to 8 months, they can have approximately three to nine tablespoons of oatmeal or cereal once a day, divided among two meals. Always talk to your baby's pediatrician if you're concerned about how much oatmeal you should be offering. Deciding how much your baby needs will really be something you have to feel out for your individual baby, as all babies are different.

A Word From Verywell

Getting your child started with healthy eating habits should kick off at an early age. It can be a lot of fun watching your baby explore new tastes and textures of solid food, and homemade oatmeal can be a great place to start. Take it slow and allow their palate to get used to each exciting discovery before moving on to the next. Build this strong foundation and before you know it, they'll be eating the same meals as you.

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4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC’s infant and toddler nutrition website.

  2. HealthyChildren.org. Oatmeal: the safer alternative for infants & children who need thicker food.

  3. Paruzynski H, Korczak R, Wang Q, Slavin J. A pilot and feasibility study of oatmeal consumption in children to assess markers of bowel functionJ Med Food. 2020;23(5):554-559. doi:10.1089/jmf.2019.0158.

  4. Golisano Children’s Hospital. University of Rochester Medical Center. Feeding your baby the first 12 months. Pediatric Nutrition.