• franceswalker@thefoodinto

Is my baby sensitive to oats?



Are you questioning if your baby is reacting to oats through your breast milk?

If you have established that your baby seems to significantly react to wheat in your diet, it does not necessarily follow that oats will be an issue. It also does not necessarily follow that rye and barley is a problem.

If somebody has Coeliac disease, we tend to take wheat, rye, barley and oats out of the diet as wheat contains gluten, and rye and barley and oats also contain proteins that are very similar to gluten.

In oats, the 'gluten' type of protein is called AVENIN. Avenin is not as 'gluteny' as gluten and oats that are guaranteed to not be contaminated with wheat (ie 'gluten free oats') can be tolerated by many people with Coeliac Disease (see note at end of this blog if you have Coeliac Disease).

When we speak of a baby reacting to wheat through breast milk, it can be useful to separate this from the 'gluten' concept and just thinks of wheat being the issue rather than gluten.

Thus, best not to assume that oats won't be tolerated just because wheat is not tolerated.

After wheat, however, oats is generally the next grain found not to be tolerated by breast fed babies. This occurrence is found to be far less than wheat being the issue.

Oats do not constitute a food group so can be easily replaced without loss of nutrients. A short term trial of replacing oat with some grains such as quinoa, millet, and buckwheat can help determine if oat is actually a trigger for your baby.

Porridge can be made from these grains and quinoa flakes are super handy for replacing oats in many recipes.

If excluded from the diet, plan to re-introduce via breast milk to confirm any suspected oat issue and 3-4 months later aim to trial again as sensitive breast-fed babies can often grow out of food sensitivities, as their gut and systems mature.

Remember- oat milk also counts as an oat so if you are dairy free, replace oat milk with rice milk or another plant milk, fortified with calcium to the tune of 120mg calcium per 100ml. See end of blog for info re: rice milk and alternative plant milks.


Empowering women to make choices for them selves and their babies.

Rice/alternative plant milks are a handy vector for calcium and as a cooking ingredient but provide little in the way of protein and calories and other nutrients and for these reasons are not suitable for babies or toddlers as a dairy replacement.


If you have Coeliac Disease: you should discuss with your specialist before including oats in your diet so a monitoring baseline and follow up can be put into place to determine that you can in fact tolerate oats, by checking physiological markers/villi impact rather than just relying on lack of symptoms.