Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and Breastfeeding: Is It Safe? 

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Many believe that apple cider vinegar has many benefits for your health. Therefore, it makes sense to wonder if it is safe and healthy to have apple cider vinegar while breastfeeding. 

Apple cider vinegar is safe when breastfeeding as long as it is diluted appropriately. It can be unpasteurized and contain the “mother.” However, it increases the risk of developing a foodborne illness for you, but not your baby. 

Let’s talk about apple cider vinegar and how to safely add it to your diet while breastfeeding. Read on! 

Is It Safe to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar When Breastfeeding? 

Apple cider vinegar is safe to consume when breastfeeding, whether in salad dressings, sauces, marinades, or more. The main concern of many breastfeeding moms is whether the apple cider vinegar needs to be pasteurized or not since this is a precaution all pregnant women are advised to take.  

Pasteurization is the process of heating apple cider vinegar (more specifically the apple juice) to kill any bacteria that may potentially be present, primarily E. Coli bacteria (source: United States Food & Drug Administration [FDA]).

bragg apple cider vinegar

Unpasteurized or “unfiltered” apple cider vinegar also contains the “mother.” The mother is the culture of bacteria that is used to ferment the apple juice in the apple cider vinegar. 

Thankfully, most bacteria that cause foodborne illness do not pass through breast milk to your baby (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]). However, this is not to say that it is entirely safe to have unpasteurized apple cider vinegar while breastfeeding.

You have an increased risk of foodborne illness from drinking unfiltered and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, mainly when it still contains the mother. While your baby cannot get the foodborne illness through your breast milk, it may be more difficult for you to care for your baby if you are sick. 

Therefore, stick with only pasteurized apple cider vinegar and avoid varieties that contain the mother. Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar will have a warning on the packaging, letting you know that there is an increased risk of foodborne illness for certain populations. 

Additionally, to prevent damage to your teeth from the concentrated acid in the apple cider vinegar, dilute it in plenty of water rather than simply doing a shot of apple cider vinegar. Also, rinse your mouth with water after consuming to protect your teeth further., 

Tooth damage is not a concern for apple cider vinegar as an ingredient in a sauce, salad dressing, or other recipes because it is likely diluted enough when combined with other foods. 

Are ACV Pills or Gummies Safe When Breastfeeding?

Apple cider vinegar pills or gummies are safe when breastfeeding. In addition, popular vitamin brands, such as Goli Nutrition gummies, are safe for breastfeeding. However, they do contain unpasteurized apple cider vinegar containing the mother. 

Additionally, these products are considered dietary supplements, which are treated differently than food in the United States. Therefore, the FDA does not regulate dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness before they hit the market (source: FDA).

However, they do monitor for adverse reactions and safety after the product is already available to the general public for purchase. 

Also, most apple cider vinegar supplements do not contain any ingredients that are not safe for breastfeeding but always check the ingredients list anyway. When in doubt, speak with your physician before consuming any supplement. 

apple cider vinegar bottle with fresh apples on table

What Are the Benefits or Side Effects of ACV When Nursing? 

Mainly, apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which can have health benefits when consumed daily. It has been shown to improve obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, infections, and more (source: Current Opinion in Food Science).

Also, apple cider vinegar can benefit breastfeeding women by promoting healthy weight loss. In a double-blind study performed on obese individuals in Japan, daily vinegar consumption was correlated with a reduction in body weight (source: Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry). 

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Affect Milk Supply? 

While many believe that apple cider vinegar may impact breast milk production, no evidence-based science currently supports this. 

For more information about some lactogenic foods that have been shown to increase milk supply, check out this article here!

raw apple cider vinegar

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help with Nipple Thrush? 

Unfortunately, apple cider vinegar has not been shown to help with nipple thrush. However, science does show that it can be effective for oral thrush because of its anti-fungal activity (source: Journal of Prosthodontics). 

If you are experiencing nipple thrush while you are breastfeeding, speak with your physician about proper treatment methods. 

Can I Use ACV to Stop Breastfeeding? 

While many mothers wonder if apple cider vinegar can be used to “stop” breastfeeding, there is also no evidence that this is effective and is not recommended. 

I hope this comprehensive article helped break down the science and recommendations regarding consuming apple cider vinegar while you are breastfeeding.