Kiwi may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age.
Kiwi originated in East Asia, where it is called kei ji gwo and míhóutáo, among other names. The latter name means “macaque fruit,” a nod to monkeys who discovered the fruit long before humans did. Kiwis are now grown commercially across the globe, including in New Zealand, where the crop has been successful and widespread. In fact, the fruit was known as gooseberry until entrepreneurial New Zealanders rebranded it with the name of the fuzzy, brown-skinned kiwi bird living all over their islands.
Maya, 8 months, eats a whole kiwi with half of the skin on to make it easier to hold.
Isar, 12 months, eats kiwi.
Río, 17 months, eats kiwi.
Yes. Kiwis offer a remarkable number of nutrients that are important for early growth. Kiwi is rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers to support digestion and baby’s developing gut microbiome. The fruit also offers a good amount of vitamins C and E, which support immunity, power organ functions, and aid cell growth and repair. Lastly, kiwi is loaded with phytonutrients and enzymes that are anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-cancerous, and that support heart, skin, and digestive health.
★Tip: Kiwi lasts up to a week in the fridge and is best stored away from other fruit. The natural ripening compounds in other fruits, such as bananas, can speed up kiwi’s ripening, shortening its shelf life.
No. Juice generally should not be given to babies under 12 months of age, unless directed to do so by a pediatric health provider. After the first birthday, small amounts of juice (less than 4 ounces a day, ideally diluted with water to reduce sweetness) may be offered on occasion as desired. That said, it is good practice to wait to serve juice until a child is two years old and even then, aim to reduce the amount offered to minimize sugar in a child’s diet. Excessive consumption of sweet beverages may reduce the diversity of foods and nutrients consumed and increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and dental caries.
Yes, all varieties of kiwi skin are edible and are high in a number of beneficial nutrients (fiber, various antioxidants, and more). Kiwi skin may have some pesticide residue, although this can be reduced by washing in water.
Yes. Kiwi is an excellent source of fibers, polyphenols, non-starch polysaccharides, and actinidin – together, they contribute to overall digestive health and bowel regularity. In fact, daily kiwi consumption has been shown to improve stool frequency and decrease abdominal pain in otherwise healthy adults. It is important to remember that pooping patterns can vary significantly from baby to baby. Be sure to talk to your pediatric healthcare provider if you have concerns about baby’s pooping and digestive function.
Yes. The flesh of kiwis can be firm and slippery—two qualities that increase the risk of choking. To reduce the risk, serve ripe, soft kiwi (it should be sweetly fragrant and give slightly when pressed) and cut the fruit in age-appropriate ways. As always, make sure to create a safe eating environment and stay within an arm’s reach of a baby during mealtime. For more information, visit our section on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with common choking hazards.
No. While kiwi is not considered to be a common food allergen, allergies to kiwi are being increasingly reported, with reactions ranging from mild to severe. Additionally, some individuals may be sensitive to actinidin, an enzyme that is naturally present in kiwi, and can also be used as a meat tenderizer in other foods.
Individuals with latex-fruit syndrome (including avocado, banana, and chestnut) may be allergic to kiwi as well. Kiwi has multiple protein allergens that have been identified, many of which cross-react with other food allergens, such as peanut, tree nuts, and stone fruits. However, it is rare for an individual to be sensitized to all the possible kiwi allergens, and most people with kiwi allergies can safely consume these other foods. Individuals with Oral Allergy Syndrome due to birch or beech pollen allergy (also known as pollen food allergy) may also be sensitive to kiwi. Oral Allergy Syndrome typically results in short-lived itching, burning, or tingling in the mouth and is unlikely to result in a dangerous reaction. Peeling or cooking kiwi can help minimize the reaction.
Acidic foods like kiwi are often mistaken for allergens as they can cause a harmless rash around the mouth as baby eats and can cause or worsen diaper rashes. Barrier ointments can be applied to the face before mealtime to help protect the skin from acidic foods.
Kiwi does contain enzymes called proteases which can break down proteins in the mouth and cause irritation or bleeding if the kiwi is consumed when not fully ripe, or in excess. To limit these reactions, ensure that you only serve kiwi that is fully ripe, serve modest quantities at a time, and serve kiwi alongside other foods.
As you would when introducing any new food, start by serving a small quantity of kiwi on its own. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future servings.
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience.
Serve peeled or unpeeled ripe whole kiwis for baby to munch from. Offering a whole kiwi with half of the skin left on works well as baby can more easily hold the part with the skin and munch at the fruit that does not have the skin. The skin is edible though it may contain pesticides. You can also serve a ripe kiwi half, as long as the child is not overstuffing their mouth with an entire half. Either way, make sure the kiwi is ripe, soft, and smashes easily with light pressure. You can also mash the kiwi and mix it with unsweetened coconut cream, yogurt, or ricotta cheese.
Try offering kiwi, with skin on or off, chopped into large bite-sized pieces (since kiwi is slippery, small bite-sized pieces may be too tricky for this age) or thin slices. If the kiwi pieces are too slippery and baby gets frustrated, roll them in a finely ground food like shredded coconut flakes, breadcrumbs, crushed cereal, hemp seed, or finely ground nut. If baby isn’t able to pick up small pieces of food yet, keep serving ripe kiwi whole or cut in half or continue to mash the fruit into other scoopable foods.
Offer bite-sized pieces of ripe, peeled or unpeeled kiwi as finger food or serve with a fork to encourage utensil practice. At this age, the pieces can be a bit smaller as a child’s pincer grasp has more fully developed. Kiwi can be added as a sweet topping to foods like oatmeal, quinoa, rice, yogurt, and even fish and chicken dishes.
Mix up your mornings with ideas from our guide, 50 Breakfasts for Babies & Toddlers.
1 kiwi half + ½ c (120 ml) yogurt
This recipe contains a common allergen: dairy (yogurt). Only serve to a child after this allergen has been safely introduced. Always check for potential allergens in ingredients listed on the labels of store-bought processed foods, such as yogurt. Added ingredients may include honey, which should not be given to babies younger than 12 months.
Wash and cut the kiwi in half crosswise.
Set aside one half to serve whole and keep the skin on. The texture helps baby grip the slippery fruit, plus it provides a natural surface for baby’s mouth to scrape the fruit while munching. If the skin makes you nervous, peel it and add grip by rolling the kiwi half in hulled hemp seeds or any finely ground-up seed or tree nut that has been safely introduced.
Scoop the flesh from the other half and mash it until smooth. Swirl the mashed kiwi into the yogurt.
Serve the Kiwi
Offer the kiwi two ways and let baby self-feed.
If help is needed, pass the kiwi half or a pre-loaded spoon of yogurt in the air for baby to grab from you. As baby munches on the kiwi half, don’t worry if baby swallows some of the skin. It’s full of fiber.
To Store: Cut kiwi keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Pediatrician & pediatric gastroenterologist
Pediatrician & pediatric allergist/immunologist
Pediatric occupational therapist, feeding & swallowing specialist, international board-certified lactation consultant
Speech-language pathologist, feeding & swallowing specialist
Pediatric registered dietitian & nutritionist
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