Baby puffs are one of the most convenient and common finger foods offered to your baby. In this guide, you will find feeding tips for baby puffs and our recommendations for the best baby puffs, baby teethers, toddler puffs, and snacks.

graphic for post - best baby puffs - complete guide - best brands - 8+ months. Images are in a grid of packages of puffs plus hands holding puffs.

Medically reviewed and co-written by Jamie Johnson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and Lauren Braaten, Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT).

Baby Puffs

In an ideal world, we’d all find an extra 10 hours a week to devote to planning, shopping, preparing, and cooking delicious, homemade snacks for our babies and toddlers. (We’d probably use a few hours to sneak in a nice long nap for ourselves, too.) In the meantime, we’ll settle for occasional help from store-bought baby puffs and toddler snacks.

Although baby puffs are obviously not something you’ll be buying your little one forever and are by no means a must-buy product, they can serve some valuable purposes. First, baby puffs are a (mostly) mess-free snack. Baby puffs are perfect when traveling on vacation or out and about on a busy weekend.

Second, baby puffs can be a great short-term “tool” to help your baby work on the skills needed for chewing. And third, puffs can help baby develop their pincer grasp (the ability to pick up small objects using the thumb and index finger), which helps with fine motor skills and self-feeding.

Just starting finger foods with your baby? Then, I would suggest that you start by reading my very in-depth guide – The Ultimate Guide to Fingers Foods, which goes over all the important information such as choking vs. gagging, sample feeding schedule, helpful tools, how to teach baby to chew, has over 80 simple recipes and much much more! You can also check out my best-selling cookbook for even more information and recipes!

Can of puffs open on a counter with puffs spilling out on a white counter.

Reasons to Love Baby Puffs

  • Incredibly convenient to take on-the-go
  • Helpful tool for teaching baby the skills needed for chewing
  • Dissolve easily, making them a good first food with a lower risk for choking
  • Help promote a pincer grasp for more independence with self-feeding and fine motor skills
  • Available in a range of fun shapes and flavors

Nutritional Benefits of Baby Puffs

Puffs consist mainly of air, so they aren’t the most nutritious food on the block, however, they do provide some nutrients, which will vary from brand to brand.

  • Depending on the brand, puffs may be fortified with different vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, vitamin D, choline, vitamin B12, etc.
  • Depending on the type of grains, fruits, and vegetables used, there will be some vitamins and minerals from those foods in the puffs.
  • The main macronutrient found in puffs is carbohydrates, which are an important source of energy. 
  • Puffs can help baby master the pincer grasp, which is important in self-feeding.

Frequently Asked Questions

At what age can your baby have puffs?

Babies can typically start to pick up puffs once their pincer grasp has developed, usually around 8-9 months. 

Are baby puffs a choking hazard?

Technically, babies can choke on anything, however, baby puffs are designed to melt in their mouths very quickly so pose little risk of choking.

Can toddles have puffs?

Sure, toddlers can have puffs, but I wouldn’t make a habit of it since you don’t want puffs to replace other solid foods that will have more nutritional value and are more age-appropriate for toddlers. Being too reliant on puffs can put babies and toddlers at risk of nutrition deficiencies since they do not provide a whole lot of nutrition overall.

Do puffs have to be organic?

Puffs certainly do not have to be organic but if you are worried about exposure to pesticides, choose organic. If you’re worried about arsenic in rice, unfortunately, organic puffs will not have any less arsenic in them.

Hands holding a handful of circle puffs.

Baby Puffs Storage

Puffs seem to stay freshest the longest by storing them in an air-tight container. Many brands that come in resealable bags don’t always close properly, so it’s best to transfer them to a reusable container with a tight seal.

Puffs Feeding Tips

  • Serve a small amount at a time so baby does not shove too many in her mouth at once. 
  • Vary the type of puffs you buy to get a variety of nutrients and flavors.
  • Make sure to buy puffs made from a variety of grains, not just rice, to help prevent too much exposure to arsenic. 
  • Look for puffs made without added sugar.
  • Don’t serve them at every meal and snack so baby does not start to rely too heavily on them.
  • You can also soften puffs with breastmilk or formula and spoon-feed to baby.
  • Crumble them into a fine powder and roll harder to grasp fruits or veggies in them (such as avocado slices)
  • Use them to introduce new foods, such as spreading a very thin layer of nut butter on teether wafers. Or serve larger puffs, such as Gerber Lil’ Crunchies with hummus or lentil puree for dipping.
  • Even though puffs melt easily in the mouth, stay in the habit of serving them only when your little one is sitting at the table and you can supervise them.

Rice Based Baby Puffs

Rice has the potential to be higher in arsenic than other grain-based puffs, which is why we recommend serving rice-based baby puffs only occasionally.

Rice Alternative Baby Puffs

If you are looking for alternatives to rice-based puffs, you’ll find plenty of options made from corn flour, cornmeal, cassava root flour, and whole-grain sorghum.

Baby Puffs with Nuts

Puffs made with peanuts or tree nuts are an easy way to introduce your baby to these common allergens. Pediatricians recommend introducing these allergens shortly after your baby starts solids — as early as 4 to 6 months.

Baby Teethers, Melts & More

Teether wafers and stick-shaped melts are a great option for younger toddlers who want to be more independent with self-feeding. Baby teethers and melts are larger than traditional, smaller puffs and help toddlers with grasping the food on their own.

Toddler Puffs and Snacks

For the toddler stage, it’s nice to have quick and (mostly) mess-free options. Toddler puffs and snacks can be helpful for busy parents, just try to use these products sparingly. These products should not be a regular substitute for other solid foods that have more nutritional value for toddlers.