Homemade Baby Oatmeal

Tired of paying for pre-made baby food, especially the organic kind?  I got real sick of that fast.  When Baby D was old enough to have oatmeal (not to be confused with oatmeal cereal) I started buying the Earth's Best Oatmeal in the glass jar and also in the squeezy thingies (as my sister would say).  The squeezy thingies would always be on sale at Babies R Us; most of the time they were 16 for $20 and on rare occasion they were 10 for $10.  Let's do some basic math for 25 days worth of oatmeal that is store bought vs 25 days of homemade oatmeal.  Maybe there are some days when baby wants eggs :)

Store Bought Oatmeal
Each oatmeal pouch/jar cost around $1.25 each plus 9% sales tax.  Baby D ate 1 of these a day for 25 days. So....
$1.25 x .09 = .11 sale tax
$1.25 + .11 = $1.36 per pouch/jar
$1.36 x 25 = $34 for 25 days

Awesome....so I spent $34 on JUST oatmeal for 25 days.  Now let's take a look at how much the same quantity of oatmeal costs to make at home:

Homemade Oatmeal
One 2lb container of Natural Old Fashioned Oats: $3.29
1 bag of frozen fruit: $4.99
1 box of 300 count BPA free sandwich bags: $5.99
Add 9% sales tax: $1.28
$1.28 + $3.29 + $4.99 + $5.99 = $15.55

But here is the kicker...  It only took 6 cups of oatmeal to make 25 days worth of oatmeal.  It only took 25 sandwich bags out of the 300.  If you really want to break the cost down even further you can to see how much you are saving.  But just by the two totals of the:
store bought oatmeal ($34)
homemade oatmeal ($15.55)
you are spending 45% less money if you choose to make your own oatmeal right off the bat.  Let's break it down further:

Baby D has one serving of oatmeal that consists of 4oz or 1/2 cup.  The 2 lb canister of rolled oats contains 30 servings per container at 4oz or 1/2 cup per serving.  So, if one canister has 30 servings it should last only 30 days, right?  Noooooo.  Oatmeal is super absorbent and expands once it is cooked. So this canister of oatmeal is going to last a while.  I'll prove it:

I cooked 12 servings (6 cups) from the canister of oatmeal and it gave me 25 servings!
That leaves me 18 servings left in the canister of oatmeal. So technically I could get another month's worth of oatmeal servings out of the canister.  Therefore, the I only spent half the amount of money of the cost of the canister of oatmeal which would total to $1.65.  Next month when I make more oatmeal, I only have to buy a bag of frozen fruit which costs around $5.  Ok, enough with the math...how do you make baby oatmeal??

  • 6 cups of rolled oats from one 2lb canister of Old Fashioned Oats.  If you are going the organic or non-GMO route like me, then make sure your rolled oats have writing on the container that says "Organic" or Non-GMO.  I use Meijer's Natural Oats.  Either way, the only ingredient listed should be "100% WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS".

  • 2tb of Cinnamon
  • 1lb bag of frozen (or fresh) fruit
The below recipe is for 25 days worth of oatmeal:
Boil 11.5 cups of water.
Once the water comes to a boil, pour in 6 cups of rolled oats and stir until all oats have settled in the pot.

 Once the oats have settled, add the 1lb bag of frozen fruit.
Now, add the cinnamon.
 Stir it up!
Let the mixture cook on medium-low for 5 minutes.
Once the 5 minutes is up, turn off the heat and let the oatmeal sit for another 5 minutes to absorb some of the liquid.
5 minutes later........
Scoop the mixture into the food processor.  If the mixture seems sticky, add a tablespoon of water at a time to loosen the thickness.

Do not overfill food processor.

Puree the oatmeal mixture to the desired texture.
Now pour the pureed mixture into a separate container to use for bagging:

To get an accurate measure for 1 serving, I used a 4oz jar.  Now-a-days (6 months into making oatmeal) I just eyeball it.
Now pour the 4oz serving into a zip top sandwich bag.

Squeeze out all the air and zip up the bag.
Label the bag with the date the oatmeal was made and write thawed (I'll explain below).

Lay the bags flat and put in the freezer.  You can leave one or two servings in the fridge for tomorrow and the next day, but I recommend freezing the rest of the batch.  You never want to leave food (especially food you have made for baby) in the fridge for more than 3 or 4 days.  Bacteria starts to grow and the food takes on the infamous "fridge smell". Remember, fresh is best. 
Question: So, if I just freeze all this baby oatmeal the night before, what is the best method to thaw/reheat one serving for tomorrow?
Answer: Excellent question!  This is what I do:  I put one of the frozen bags of oatmeal in the refrigerator the night before.  In the morning the bag of oatmeal is thawed.  I take the oatmeal out of the fridge and cut the tip of one of the corners of the zip top bag off, as seen below:
Then I squeeze the bag of thawed oatmeal into a glass jar from previously purchased baby food (before I was smart and decided to make my own food).

 Then, I remove the label from the zip top bag and place it on the jar and write today's date on it:
So, now my child's care giver knows that the oatmeal was made on 3/15/14 and it was thawed on 3/16/14.  If Baby D decides he doesn't' want oatmeal that morning, my care giver (or myself if it is a weekend) knows that the oatmeal can still be consumed within 3 days.

If you breastfeed and are familiar with pumping and storing breastmilk, then you know the rules of breastmilk storage.  Food storage lasts a little bit longer, but I like to keep in mind the breastmilk storage rules just to be on the safe side of things.


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