After approximately 6 months of consuming nothing but breast milk or formula, it can be fun for both babies and parents alike when your little one starts to transition on to solid foods.
Navigating what foods to give a weaning baby can feel like a minefield, especially as you need to think of things like taste, texture, nutritional content and of course the risk of choking.
Puffs can tick all of these boxes, so it’s not surprising they are among the first foods that many parents offer their baby when moving on to solids, which is typically around the 6 month mark.
But as with any food or snack you give your baby, it’s important to understand the finer details, particularly around safety and the age at which a food can safely be introduced.
So let’s take a look at giving babies puffs in more detail.
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What Are Baby Puffs?
Puffs, and more specifically the ones created for infants, are a melt-in-the-mouth snack that come in small individual pieces, meaning they are easy for a baby to pick up and eat by themselves.
Because they are lightweight, easy to eat and don’t require any special storage, puffs can be a convenient snack for a baby, particularly when you’re on the go or traveling with your little one.
Puffs can be made from many different ingredients, but the base or core ingredient is usually corn, rice, wheat or some other cereal.
To add flavor and variety, puffs are typically flavored using ingredients such as cheese, fruit and spices.
Not all puffs are created equal, so it’s important to read the label carefully so you can gauge how much sugar each pack contains, and whether there are any artificial ingredients or colorings.
90% of food allergies are caused by only eight foods: Milk, Eggs, Wheat, Soy, Tree nuts, Peanuts, Fish and Shellfish.
Out of these foods, when it comes to puffs the one that’s most likely to potentially cause an issue with a child that has allergies is wheat.
But it’s also important that parents read the label carefully and examine exactly what else is in the puffs, because they may contain things like peanuts, dairy or other ingredients your child could be allergic or intolerant to.
What Age Can Babies Have Puffs?
You’ve probably heard this before, but the exact age regrading when a baby can do something usually varies, because all babies develop at slightly different rates.
Typically, you baby is ready to start eating puffs, as well as other finger foods like Cheerios, when they are ready to move on to eating solid foods.
As we saw in our baby and toddler feeding guide, for a lot of children the move to solids is around the 6 month mark, but there’s nothing wrong if it’s a bit sooner or a little later when it comes to your child.
What is important is that you can spot the signs that your baby is ready to move on to solid foods, which include:
- The ability to sit upright without needing assistance.
- Your child is able to hold his or her head steady and in place.
- They can pick up an object and move it towards their mouth.
- They show an interest in feeding themselves.
- Your child can swallow food, rather than merely spitting it back out.
If your baby is exhibiting some or all of the signs above, then there’s a good chance they are ready to start enjoying some puffs (as well as Cheerios and other finger foods)!
Can A Baby Choke On Puffs?
Puffs generally do not pose a choking hazard and are therefore safe for babies, but that’s not to say they aren’t completely without risks.
Experts recommend you never never leave your baby unattended while they eat food, and to always pay close attention to what your little one puts in their mouth.
As puffs are designed to melt in the mouth, the risk of choking is low – your baby’s saliva will dissolve the puff once it is in their mouth, making it easy to swallow if they are not doing a good job of chewing it themselves.
One thing to be aware of however is that they can become hard when they have been opened or been left out for too long, so it’s best to give your child only fresh puffs.
If the pack has been open for some time then you should use discretion, and always eat one of the puffs yourself first so you can check they are still soft and melt easily.
Tips On How Best To Give Your Baby Puffs?
- Despite their benefits, puffs are not the most nutritionally dense of snacks, so try giving them to your child as an occasional snack or with other nutritious foods like vegetables, apple, salmon or meat.
- There are hundreds of different types out there, so experimenting can be a great way to introduce new flavors to your baby.
- As with most packaged or processed foods, the best option is usually to select the product with the fewest ingredients (ideally ingredients that you’ve actually heard of), and with the least amount of sugar or artificial flavorings.
- Because of the wide range of available flavors, giving your baby some puffs can also be a good way to test if they are allergic to a certain ingredient.
- It can be tempting for mom or dad to help out, but it’s best to let your little one try to feed themselves and use their motor skills and dexterity to pick up the puff and place it in their mouth – even though there might be many failed attempts along the way!