When Can My Baby Eat Puffs?

baby in high chair eating puffs

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As your baby progresses to eating solids, it can be fun to experiment with different foods and snacks. But, as you know, you cannot put just anything on their high chair tray. You also have to consider whether or not that food is safe for your little one, as well as whether or not they are ready to give it a try.

Puffs are among the first foods parents often have questions about. These easily-dissolvable snacks are sometimes advertised as baby's first finger foods. But knowing whether they are right for your baby takes a little more intuition than simply reading the label. After all, to prevent choking, you need to consider your baby's skills, interest level, and readiness before introducing certain foods.

"It is safe to start giving [your baby] finger foods when they are able to sit without support and bring food to their mouth with their hands," says Emily Wolfe, MD, a board-certified pediatrician with Orlando Health Physician Associates. "Finger foods are safe when they are soft, easy to swallow, and in small pieces."

If you are curious whether Puffs fit into this category of safe finger foods, read on. Below we explore what Puffs are, whether they are safe for your baby, and how to introduce them.

What Are Puffs?

Generally speaking, Puffs are meltable finger food for babies. While they are usually grain-based, there also are gluten-free versions as well. They come in a variety of flavors and some even have added minerals like iron.

"Puffs are dissolvable finger foods designed to help babies practice their oral motor skills, pincer grasp, and hand-to-mouth coordination," says Nicole Silber, RD, CSP, CLC, a registered dietitian, a board-certified specialist in pediatric nutrition, certified lactation counselor, and creator of Tiny Tasters. "They are most commonly starch-based, but some are yogurt, nut butter, and veggie based."

Are Puffs Safe For My Baby?

Because Puffs are formulated to dissolve quickly in your baby's mouth, they can be a great tool for improving your baby's dexterity and allowing them to experiment with self-feeding. But, you should wait until they can sit unsupported and are able to bring foods to their mouth, Dr. Wolfe says. Generally, this occurs when they are 8 or 9 months old.

"Many parents are concerned about choking hazards when it comes to Puffs," says Jesse Feder, RD, CPT a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer. "However, Puffs are filled with air and quickly dissolve in your baby's mouth. Therefore, the chances of choking on them are extremely low. Make sure to only start feeding them, though, when they are ready for solids."

Puffs are filled with air and quickly dissolve in your baby's mouth. Therefore, the chances of choking on them are extremely low.


Because Puffs are a safe consistency, they can be a good choice for parents who might be particularly fearful or nervous about choking. "Puffs are a nice way to put [parents] at ease and show them that babies are capable of handling textures and know how to spit out the food if the piece of food is too big for their mouths," Silber says.

Benefits of Giving Baby Puffs

When deciding which Puffs to feed your baby, you are likely to find a lot of variety. Some Puffs are fortified with iron while others are whole grain or contain probiotics, explains Jennifer House MSc, RD, a registered dietitian, owner of First Step Nutrition, and the author of "The Parents' Guide to Baby-Led Weaning."

There are even peanut butter-flavored Puffs, which allow you to introduce this common food allergen early on. In fact, there is some evidence that early exposure to the most common food allergens may help prevent your baby from developing food allergies.

Puffs can be a good teaching tool for babies. "Picking up the puffs works on your baby’s dexterity," House says. "For babies that are slow to accept solids and learning how to chew—they can be a good tool for improving oral motor skills required for feeding. Puffs are easy to melt and require little chewing."

They also are a great way for babies to learn how to manipulate food in their mouths and practice their hand-to-mouth coordination, Silber adds.

Safety Precautions

When feeding your baby Puffs, make sure you are giving them ones that are not outdated or stale. "When Puffs have been open or out too long, they do not dissolve the same way as when they are fresh, and can present a choking hazard," Dr. Wolfe says. "A study from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that fruit and veggie melts that were left out for over one hour took longer to dissolve, and therefore posed a choking hazard."

You also want to monitor your baby for any signs of choking or gagging when introducing Puffs or other finger foods, Dr. Wolfe adds. If your baby continues to gag while eating, contact your child's pediatrician for an evaluation.

While Puffs generally do not pose a choking hazard, your baby should never be left unattended while eating. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), choking is the leading cause of death among children aged 4 and younger.

Puffs can be a great tool to practice certain eating skills but are by no means necessary to a baby's diet.


Many babies would happily eat Puffs all day, but keep in mind that they're not the most nutrient-dense food. Offer them, along with other nutritious foods, as part of a meal instead of snacking all day.

"I prefer to save room in their small bellies for more whole foods that can teach them the same feeding skills that Puffs do," Silber adds. "Puffs can be a great tool to practice certain eating skills, but are by no means necessary to a baby's diet."

When and How to Introduce Puffs

Typically, most babies begin eating solids around 6 months of age. If you are considering giving your baby Puffs, it is important to talk with their pediatrician or healthcare provider to determine if they are ready for this snack, Dr. Wolfe suggests.

"By the time your baby is 8 to 12 months old, they can generally sit independently and could have Puffs as part of a snack," Dr. Wolfe says. "But do not replace any part of their normal nutrition [with Puffs], and feed them Puffs slowly one at a time to monitor for signs of choking."

Once your baby is 12 months old, they can have Puffs throughout the day, Dr. Wolfe says. But make sure this cereal is not replacing your baby's meals. "Puffs are very low in nutrients, as they are puffed with air, so you want to make sure that they are not replacing fruits, vegetables, meats, and other components of a well-rounded diet."

When introducing your baby to Puffs, consider offering them at mealtime rather than using them as a snack. Keep in mind that at 6 months, your baby likely won’t have the pincer grasp required to pick them up themselves.

"Generally, we want the baby to self-feed versus putting food in their mouth," says House. "But because Puffs are not really a choking hazard, [you] could play a game like 'stick out your tongue' and place the Puff on your baby’s tongue until they can self-feed."

You also can put the Puffs on the high chair tray or table for baby to explore, suggests Silber. "Remember, babies learn best through imitation, so watching a grown-up [eat them] often does the trick."

5 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.
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  2. Washington University. Developmental Milestones Table.

  3. Chan ES, Abrams EM, Hildebrand KJ, Watson W. Early introduction of foods to prevent food allergyAllergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2018;14(Suppl 2):57. Published 2018 Sep 12. doi:10.1186/s13223-018-0286-1

  4. Awadalla N, Pham T, Milanaik R. Chew on this: Not all first finger foods are created equalClin Pediatr (Phila). 2018;57(8):889-894. doi:10.1177/0009922817733701

  5. Nationwide Children's. New study finds increase in nonfatal food-related choking among children in the U.S.

Additional Reading

By Sherri Gordon
Sherri Gordon, CLC is a published author, certified professional life coach, and bullying prevention expert.