Lime may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. Note that lime is highly acidic and may cause a harmless rash upon contact with skin and also may cause or worsen diaper rash.
Limes are part of the citrus family—a diverse group of fruits that vary in acidity and genetic origin. Lime is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia, where different varieties of citrus plants crossed with one another to form the origins of the wide range of citrus available today. While different varieties of limes can be red, purple, orange, or yellow, most are bright green, including key lime, makrut lime, and the seedless lime from Iran that is the most widely cultivated variety today. While lime is commonly consumed for its flesh or juice, its peel and the leaves of the tree on which it grows are also edible.
Caden, 6 months, tastes lime for the first time.
Amelia, 10 months, tastes a wedge of lime.
Leila, 17 months, tastes lime and doesn't love it.
Yes. Lime is an excellent source of vitamin C, which powers baby’s immune system and aids in the absorption of iron from plant-based foods. The fruit also offers some potassium and fiber to support baby’s electrolyte balance and digestive health, respectively. Citrus peels are particularly high in several plant-based compounds like flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to support baby’s bodily resilience.
No. Lime is typically used for its zest or juice, which do not pose much choking risk. However, citrus seeds, whole citrus segments, and whole dried limes pose a risk for young eaters. To reduce the risk, do not serve lime seeds, segments, small wedges of fresh lime, or whole dried limes to baby. As always, make sure you create a safe eating environment and stay within an arm’s reach of baby during meals. For more information on choking, visit our sections on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with the list of common choking hazards.
No, lime is not classified as a common food allergen. However, self-reported sensitivity to citrus is described frequently in medical literature around the world. Also, individuals with Oral Allergy Syndrome (also called pollen food allergy syndrome) may be sensitive to citrus fruits such as lime. In particular, individuals who are allergic to grass and certain tree pollens may also be more sensitive to citrus fruits. Oral Allergy Syndrome typically results in short-lived itching, tingling, or burning in the mouth, and it is unlikely to result in a dangerous reaction. Peeling or cooking lime can help minimize the reaction. The peel of lime also contains a compound called limonene, which is a known contact allergen, and can cause allergic contact dermatitis in sensitized individuals.
Note that lime is highly acidic, and exposure to the acid may cause a harmless rash upon contact with skin, typically around the mouth. The rash usually dissipates shortly after it shows up. Additionally, the acidity of citrus fruits like lime can cause or worsen diaper rashes when consumed in excess. Barrier ointments (such as pure petroleum jelly or a plant-based oil/wax combination) can be applied to the face and diaper area before mealtime to help protect the skin.
Lime is also associated with phytophotodermatitis, a skin condition that occurs when a person gets the juice from the fruit on the skin and doesn't wash it off. Compounds in the juice are activated by the sun and cause a pigmented, itchy, and occasionally blistering and painful rash on the skin. Cleansing the skin after citrus contact and using sun protection can help to prevent the phytophotodermatitis rash.
As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity for the first few servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future meals.
No. Limeade should not be served before the first birthday, since baby’s primary drink at this stage should be breast (human) milk and/or formula, and because limeade is often heavily sweetened to balance lime’s sour flavor. After the first birthday, small amounts of limeade (less than 4 ounces or 118 ml a day, ideally diluted with water to reduce sweetness) may be offered as a drink, but there are benefits to waiting until after the second birthday or even longer. Delaying the introduction of sweet drinks, like limeade and other fruit juices, can help establish a foundation for a varied diet and give the child an opportunity to build an appreciation for a diversity of unsweetened food and drink. Regular and especially excessive consumption of sweet beverages may reduce the diversity of foods and nutrients consumed, increase the risk of dental cavities, and alter appetite in ways that can negatively affect growth.
No, not generally. While lime is high in fiber, the fruit is typically consumed in small amounts or in ways that do not make a significant impact on digestion. Remember that pooping patterns can vary significantly from baby to baby. If you have concerns about baby’s pooping and digestive function, check out our page on knowing when to worry about baby’s poop and, as always, talk to your pediatric healthcare provider.
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience. Your child is an individual and may have needs or considerations beyond generally accepted practices. In determining the recommendations for size and shape of foods, we use the best available scientific information regarding gross, fine, and oral motor development to minimize choking risk. The preparation suggestions we offer are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for child-specific, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional or provider. It is impossible to fully eliminate all risk of a baby or child choking on any liquid, puree, or food. We advise you to follow all safety protocols we suggest to create a safe eating environment and to make educated choices for your child regarding their specific needs. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
Use lime juice or lime zest to season age-appropriate fruit, vegetables, grains, or other foods to share with baby. You can use lime as a way to boost vitamin C in meals with beans, lentils, leafy greens, and other foods with lots of plant-based iron. Baby may enjoy tasting lime on its own. If you have a large lime (i.e. if the lime is larger than baby’s mouth), offer one half (with any seeds removed) and let baby taste as you take the opportunity to start teaching the word sour.
Add lime juice and lime zest to meals as desired. At this age, toddlers may be able to practice squeezing lime onto their own food. Offer a large wedge (seeds removed) and teach the child how to squeeze the fruit and sprinkle the juice. You can also share meals that are seasoned with black or brown dried limes (also known as limoo amani); just make sure to remove the lime from the dish before offering it to the child, and consider serving these meals on occasion due to high sodium content in dried lime.
Add lime juice or lime zest to meals as desired and serve lime wedges (seeds removed) alongside dishes that benefit from a little tart flavor for the child to squeeze on themselves. At this age, you can also serve limeade as an occasional drink and sweetened lime desserts in moderation.
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3 c (720 ml)
Open the can of beans. Rinse the beans to remove excess sodium.
Peel the mango, then cut away the halves from the pit. Finely chop the mango halves. If you like, set aside the mango pit to offer as a resistive food teether to baby.
Quarter the tomato. Scoop out and discard the pulp and seeds. Set aside 1 quarter for baby and finely chop the rest.
Finely chop the pepper, onion, and garlic.
Finely chop the cilantro leaves and tender stems.
Stir the finely chopped fruit, vegetables, and cilantro into the beans.
Season the salsa with the juice of the limes, olive oil, and ground cumin.
Set aside some salsa for baby and mash the beans to minimize choking risk. Season the rest of the salsa with salt to taste for yourself.
Serve the Salsa
Offer salsa and let the child self-feed.
If help is needed, hold a pre-loaded spoon in the air in front of the child, then let them grab it from you.
Eat some salsa alongside the child to model how it’s done.
Spread salsa on a soft corn tortilla for baby while you enjoy your salsa with tortilla chips.
Serve salsa over shredded chicken, pulled pork, or fish tacos.
Use salsa as a filling for collard green wraps or a topping for burrito bowls.
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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