If you are researching this topic you may be at the stage where your baby is loving blended foods alongside their milk. It is the time of transition whereas as a mom you are starting to notice that milk alone is not enough for your little one.
Experimenting with different tastes and textures can be an exciting yet terrifying time as a mom. But when is it safe to veer away from the porridge? When is it the safe age for them to experiment with finger foods? When can babies eat puffs?
In this article, we are going to research the best ages you can offer puffs to your baby and also how nutritious they are.
In this article
- What Age Can I Safely Offer Puffs?
- Baby-Led Weaning
- Choking Or Gagging?
- What Baby Puffs Should I Offer?
- Are They Healthy?
- The Final Thought
What Age Can I Safely Offer Puffs?
A typical age you can offer your child finger foods would be from around 7 months. As this is a guide only it is important that your child is displaying the following:
Able to sit independently
This is an important milestone as it reduces the risk of choking.
Displaying the chewing motion
This could be displayed on anything, teething toys, pacifiers, as long as they have this jaw motion they are ready to tackle softer more solid foods other than purees.
Showing interest in food
This one was my favorite, when sitting and eating your own food you may find that your little one wants to tackle you for your food before it gets near your mouth!
Keep an eye on your plate as the little munchkin could be stealing off that too. Essentially this is a sign from your baby telling you “I want different foods.”
Have good hand-eye coordination to put food in their mouths
Babies can display this from an early age. It is important that babies have to have some stable hand-eye coordination in order to guide finger foods to their mouth themselves.
I noticed my daughter started doing this at the first stages of teething. Everything entered her mouth food or not.
You may be thinking my baby was doing this before 7 months or you could still be waiting for him/her to master the milestones.
Please don’t panic if your baby isn’t quite there yet. Finger foods can be introduced at an earlier point providing they are able to do the above safely and you have checked with your healthcare provider.
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As we know many children develop quicker than others and this is perfectly normal. Any age recommendations in this guide will only be given as recommendations. If you have any concerns seek advice from your health care provider.
Puffs are typically cereal-based finger food that is easily dissolved when they hit any moisture. Many stores offer ready-packed puffs or you could try and make your own (if you have the time!)
When my little one reached this age I always opted for the giant packs from the grocery store and used a zip lock back with a few in when I was out and about.
The best thing about puffs is that as soon as they hit your baby’s saliva they dissolve which can help ease your nerves when it comes to choking. The little particles of puff will shrink so small that it will be easy for your little one to swallow with little effort.
If you are following this plan on your journey to new foods and weaning then you may be able to offer puffs slightly earlier. But it is important that your child has mastered the milestones above to reduce the choking risk.
It may be an idea to start on softer foods like fruit but essentially only you know when your baby will be ready.
Choking Or Gagging?
Finger foods like puffs are brilliant for you to pack as a snack when you are on the go. It helps keep your baby quiet and happy whilst you are doing any task out of the home but if you are nervous about choking then you may want to start off by trying them at home.
Many studies have referred to the gagging reflex as ‘choking.’ This can be very misleading for new moms and it is important to know the difference between choking and gagging.
Gagging is a natural reflex that your baby may do when eating solid foods. It is a reflex that babies can do to bring the food back to their mouths in order to chew it a bit smaller. This reflex is learned as your baby begins to understand how much food they can swallow.
Gagging is usually coupled with retching which inevitably brings the food back. If your child begins to gag allow them the time to bring the food back themselves as this is the most effective way to help them.
Sounds terrifying right?
I remember when my little one did this for the first time. She was happily eating puffs, something she ate regularly, and then her eyes started to water she was pushing her tongue out, and as quick as it started she had brought the puff back.
For a moment you do think “Oh my word they are choking!” but I can assure you this was the start of her gagging reflex. She was a hungry baby and loved her food so when she was cramming food into her mouth this reflex helped her regulate her swallowing.
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When a baby is choking you should look out for the following differences:
- Your baby may be struggling to breathe – signs of a blocked airway.
- Coughing or silent
- Their color will change especially their lips.
It is an emergency if your baby displays any of these, even though it is a scary thought you must remember it can happen and it is better to be aware of the signs.
As puffs dissolve quickly when they hit moisture it is highly unlikely they can choke but they may gag when swallowing. It is for your sanity that you are aware of the difference. Puffs are not a typical food that poses a significant choking hazard.
With this in mind, it is important for you to stay close to your baby whilst they are eating. As we know many babies have a way of defying the rules and with so it is important to keep an eye on them whilst eating.
What Baby Puffs Should I Offer?
As you walk down the isles in the grocery store you may find it overwhelming with the number of puffs available. You find yourself looking at the attractive packaging comparing flavors but what ones are the best?
You may find that the flavors seem almost bizarre, from cheesy broccoli to banana and kale the taste would depend on your baby’s preference.
At first, you may want to try a few different flavors until you find one that your baby loves. Let’s take a look at the nutritional value and find out how healthy they are.
Are They Healthy?
Many packs of baby puffs claim to have added vitamins for your baby but in the grand scheme of things they are all based around the same ingredients.
- Flour (wholegrain in some cases)
- Dried fruit
- Natural flavors
- Forms of vitamin E used as a natural preserves
After looking at this list it is obvious that puffs themselves don’t have a lot of nutritional value. They have somewhat little carbohydrate and not much else in them really.
Many packets on the shelves have words like “added Vitamins,” or “fortified with extra minerals.”
These manufacturers have noticed that over the years we moms only want to give our children the best so you would maybe go for them over the cheaper alternative. A good selling point indeed.
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Overall puffs should not play a pivotal part in your child’s balanced diet but instead, be offered as a snack or distraction method. They are 90% air-filled so they aren’t going to pile on loads of weight for your baby but may help if you are out and about or preparing their main meal.
When do you start giving finger foods to your baby?
Whether you have introduced solids to babies through purees or have chosen to adopt the baby-led weaning approach, your baby will probably be ready to start self-feeding around 7-8 months or once they have mastered the pincer grasp.
How often should I feed my 8-month-old baby food?
By 8 months it is typical for you to be feeding them one – two meals a day. Whenever you start with new food, only offer a small portion at a time (a teaspoon or two.)
This will allow your baby to get used to the new texture and taste. By 8 months you can also start introducing snacks.
When can my baby eat watermelon?
Cut the watermelon into small cubes and watch with delight as the juice runs down all over their adorable little chin. Babies can often start eating watermelon between 7-10 months old.
The Final Thought
To conclude all the aspects we have researched above, allowing your child to experiment with foods can be a fun and happy time. You as a mom are growing and allowing your child to experience new things and discover more flavors.
Not to say you aren’t going to watch them like a hawk but ensure they are under supervision at all times when eating. Also when introducing other foods ensure that you are offering a well-balanced diet.
Foods that contain a good source of fiber, protein, and healthy fats will allow your baby to be bouncing happy and fit for healthy growth and development.
Guidelines are there for a reason so ensure that your baby is old enough/ has the required skills to start eating finger foods safely. Why not check out our Complete Guide to Feeding Baby here.