I remember the day my daughter stared at my rice biscuits with intense focus. Suddenly, that little hand shot out, fingers grasping with surprising accuracy. Before I knew it, she’d nabbed one and was happily chewing away. That was my sign – my baby was ready for puffs! Sure, the calendar might have suggested waiting a little longer, but every baby develops on their own timeline. Let’s talk about those tell-tale signs that mean your little one might be ready to transition to delicious (and sometimes messy!) finger foods.

When can my baby start eating puffs?

As a general rule, babies are typically ready to eat puffs at around 7-8 months of age. But don’t panic if baby needs a little more time.

Forget exact ages, let’s focus on developmental milestones!

Those charts and guides that say babies should be ready for puffs at a certain age? Toss them aside for a minute, mama! Every tiny Kiwi is unique and develops at their own pace. Rather than stressing over the calendar, let’s focus on those key developmental milestones. These are the true green lights telling you that your little one might be ready to enter the exciting world of finger foods.

Signs Your Baby is Ready for Puffs

Okay, mama, it’s time for observation mode! Here are the key signs of readiness that signal your baby might be ready for the wonderful world of puffs:

  • Sitting Pretty: Can your little one sit unsupported for a decent stretch? Good posture is important for safe swallowing.

  • Pincer Power: Has baby mastered the pincer grasp? That ability to pick things up between their thumb and forefinger is perfect for handling those tiny puffs.

  • Curious Chewer: Is everything going straight to your baby’s mouth? From toys to your fingers, this shows a natural interest in textures and potentially food.

  • Hungry Eyes: Does your kiwi baby stare intently when you’re eating? They might be giving some not-so-subtle hints that they’d like in on the action.

  • Tongue Control: Notice that the tongue-thrust reflex (where baby pushes food out with their tongue) has started to fade? This is a great sign of readiness.

Teeth? Who needs ’em! Puffs dissolve easily, making them perfect for little gums

A Note on Gagging

Occasional gagging is a normal reflex that helps babies protect their airways. It’s different from choking! If your baby gags frequently when trying puffs, they might need a little more time to develop their oral motor skills.

Remember, it’s not a race! Every bub develops on their own schedule. If you see a few of these signs, it’s a good indication you can start exploring puffs, but always check with your pediatrician.

Baby’s First Finger Food

Get ready for some serious cuteness! Let’s talk about making those first time experiences with puffs snacks totally positive and messily adorable. These tips will help you navigate this exciting stage.

  • Safety First: Your number one priority! Always supervise your little one while they’re eating puffs. Even those puffs that melt quickly can be a choking hazard if baby gets overexcited or distracted. This is especially important for baby-led weaning families, where babies have more control over their food intake.

  • Start Slow: Puffs are one of the best baby food options for little ones starting solids. Start with ONE single puff at a time! This lets bub explore at their own pace. Watch for signs of frustration, and always be prepared to remove any uneaten bits that could pose a choking risk.

  • Milk Matters: Puffs are a fantastic way to explore different textures and develop those fine motor skills. But remember, breastmilk or formula is still the primary source of nutrition at this stage! Likewise, avoid offering fruit juice, which can be high in sugar and low in nutrients.

  • Food Allergies: Be mindful of potential food allergies. Introduce new foods, including puffs, one at a time and watch for any reactions to common allergens.

  • Try Different Flavours: Don’t be afraid to experiment! Once your cute baby gets the hang of things, try introducing puffs with different flavours. This keeps it exciting and helps them develop their tiny taste buds. Important Note: When considering flavors, make sure to read those ingredients lists carefully and avoid any puffs with added sugars, salts, or artificial ingredients whenever possible. This leads us perfectly into the next question…

What should I be looking for on the ingredients label?

Ready to make informed choices about those tempting puffs? I’m going to help you understand what those ingredient lists mean and how to pick the best for your growing baby.

  • Dissolves quickly: Puffs should melt or dissolve easily in baby’s mouth. This is crucial for minimizing the risk of choking. Look for keywords like “melts quickly” on packaging.

  • Skip the Extras: Ideally, you want puffs with minimal ingredients. Avoid anything with added sugars, high levels of salt, and artificial flavors or colors.

  • Beyond Rice: Rice puffs are common, but rice tends to absorb arsenic from the soil. A recent study showed that rice-based toddler foods and snacks are major contributors to exposure of heavy metals in little ones. While more research is needed specific to puffs, it’s definitely something to keep in mind when choosing baby snacks. Opt for organic puffs with transparent testing and sourcing practices.

    Also, rice products primarily offers carbohydrates, lacking nutritional value (vitamins, minerals, healthy fats) found in other finger food options. Look for puffs made with whole grains, lentils, gluten-free or other nutritious ingredients for a broader nutritional profile.

Remember, you’re in control! Read those labels carefully and choose the puffs that feel best for your baby and your family.

Can I make my own puffs at home?

Ever felt a little iffy about those store-bought puff ingredients? Take charge and make your own puffs! It’s a great way to know exactly what your little one is munching on, and you can create fun flavours. Plus, homemade puffs are a great snack option to have in the diaper bag!

Easy Homemade Puff Recipe

This easy-to-follow recipe is perfect for introducing your little one to the world of homemade finger foods. It’s versatile, nutritious, and a easy way to get started with DIY puffs!


    • 1 cup cooked and mashed fruit or vegetable (e.g., apple, banana, strawberry sweet potato, pumpkin)
    • 1 cup baby cereal (oat, barley-based)
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 teaspoon yogurt (optional)


    1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. Mix all ingredients until a thick batter forms.
    3. Transfer the batter to a piping bag (or resealable bag with a corner snipped off).
    4. Pipe small dots onto the baking sheet. Remember, small pieces are key for safety and developing those fine motor skills
    5. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 120 degrees Celsius (250 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake for another 20-30 minutes, or until crisp and dry.

Get Creative!

This is just a base recipe! Experiment with different flavour combinations by adding:

  • A pinch of cinnamon or mixed spice
  • Pureed spinach or kale for a veggie boost
  • A teaspoon of unsweetened nut butter (if no allergies)
  • For more bay-friendly recipes visit our recipes section

What are some other good finger foods to introduce at the same time as puffs?

An assortment of finger foods for babies

For me, starting solids with my baby was such an adventure; I loved seeing  what new foods my little one enjoyed. So if you are wondering what are some other healthy snacks to introduce your baby to, you are in the right place.

Puffs are a fantastic start, but introducing your baby to a variety of textures and flavours helps them develop healthy eating habits, and explore different food groups that are important for a well-balanced baby’s diet. Here are some ideas:

  • Soft-Cooked Veggies: Steamed or roasted vegetables cut into sticks are perfect. Think carrots, broccoli, peas, cauliflower, courgette, roasted sweet potato or any other soft foods! Aim for a texture that’s soft enough to mash between baby’s gums.

  • Fruity Favourites: Soft fruits are a hit! Try slices of banana, ripe avocado wedges, cooked apple or pear segments, or even strawberries cut in half (if no allergy concerns).

  • Pasta Power: Well-cooked pasta shapes are fun and easy to grasp. Opt for fun options like penne or spirals. Avoid any sauces that might be choking hazards.

  • Teething Helpers: If baby is teething, offering a cooled cucumber spear or a frozen banana chunk (in a mesh feeder for safety) can provide both soothing relief and a new texture experience.

  • Yogurt Melts: They are another option for dissolvable solids which makes them great for practicing the pincer grasp and hand-to-mouth coordination. Choose yogurt melts with minimal added sugars and a good source of calcium.

Best Baby Puffs

Available United States Only

    • Puffworks Baby – Organic Peanut Puffs: These melt-in-your-mouth puffs are perfect for introducing peanut to babies, supporting peanut allergy prevention guidelines by American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They are made with simple, organic ingredients.

      Serenity Kids: Offers a range of grain-free, ethically sourced, and veggie-forward puff options for little ones. Their puffs are packed with nutrients and come in fun, delicious flavors.

Available New Zealand

  • Only Organic: Their baby snacks come in various puff flavours. Look for their “Just Veggies” range or puffs made with lentils and rice. (https://onlyorganic.co.nz/)

  • Baby Mum Mums: These rice-based puffs are widely available, but choose their “Vegetable” flavor for less sugar and added nutrients.

  • Happy Baby Organics: Their “Superfood Puffs” contain wholesome ingredients like spinach, kale, and whole grains. (https://healthysnacks.nz)

  • Ceres Organics: Offers different rice puffs, but the focus is on natural ingredients without added sugar and minimal processing. Perfect for your baby’s healthy diet

Specialty Stores and Online Options:

  • Health Post (https://www.healthpost.co.nz) has a selection of less common brands, like the Australian-made snacks from ‘Little Bellies’ which use chickpea flour.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Read Labels: Even with generally healthy brands, compare flavours for hidden sugars and salts.
  • Variety is Key: Don’t depend solely on puffs! Offer a mix of whole foods as finger foods too.
  • Availability: Some brands are easier to find in supermarkets, while others you might need to order online.


Introducing puffs is just one tiny step in your baby’s food adventure. There will be ups and downs, sticky little fingers, and maybe even a few gags along the way. But hey, that’s all part of the fun! Remember, trust your instincts, mama! If you’re unsure, chat with your Plunket nurse or GP. Let’s enjoy this messy (and sometimes hilarious) stage.


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As a mum of two, deep in the trenches of snack negotiations and mysterious sticky substances, I know firsthand the joys and challenges that come with raising little ones. My project management background means I thrive on organized chaos, so expect practical tips and maybe a few sanity-saving resources along the way.

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