After going through plenty of rice cereal and a handful of fruits and veggies, I thought I'd introduce my son to a new grain. Besides, it was perfectly timed with a Drill Weekend for me (I'm in the Naval Reserves following four years on Active Duty) so my husband was in charge. My husband is great with the baby, but he's a little intimidated with the pureed foods, and I really didn't want to create something totally new that I needed to keep a close eye on for allergic reactions.
Oatmeal is perfectly fine to introduce to babies as young as four months, along with the other single-grain cereals (rice, barley). Oatmeal also has a bit more taste than rice and causes less constipation, so you may consider skipping the rice altogether and moving right for the oats!
Like many grains, oats are especially high in fiber, calcium, protein, and some B vitamins. If you're feeling especially daring, you might try working with steel-cut oats, which are slightly healthier than other varieties available in the grocery; they retain more nutrients since they're not as processed. One thing to keep in mind, however, reminds Momtastic:
"Oatmeal makes a great cereal or porridge your baby. While it is another of the grains that are least likely to cause an allergic reaction, oats may be cross contaminated with wheat gluten."
To prepare the oatmeal for my son, I mixed two tablespoons Gerber oatmeal with three tablespoons reserved cooking juice from last week's pears. Feel free to mix with whatever liquid you'd like, add other fruit purees, and experiment according to your babies tastes. This week I'm introducing apples, so reserved apple "juice" will be used, formula when nothing else is available, and if my son gets a bit constipated, I'll add in some prune juice. If a puree needs a bit more texture, I'll even add a teaspoon or two of cereal to a pureed base (I did this with bananas just to see what my son preferred - the verdict was that bananas were tastiest on their own!).
At any rate, enjoy feeding your baby, and don't be afraid to experiment just as you would for your own foods....just educate yourself first (and check with your doctor) so you know the allergic risks to avoid!!