When it comes to babies, nothing is too good to ensure their safety and well-being. From sterilizing bottles to buying the best baby gear on the market, parents do everything in their power to keep their little ones happy and healthy. But what about melatonin? Can this sleep aid be safely used in babies? Here's what you need to know.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles1. It's often referred to as the "sleep hormone" because of its ability to promote drowsiness and improve sleep quality. As such, melatonin supplements are commonly used by adults who have trouble falling or staying asleep.
Can Babies Use Melatonin?
While melatonin might seem like a quick fix for infants who struggle with sleeping through the night, it's important not to give them any medication without first consulting with your pediatrician . The truth is that there hasn't been enough research done on how safe or effective melatonin supplements are for young children.
According to Pediatrics, most studies looking at using melatonin in children focused mainly on its use among those with neurological disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) . While some studies show promising results, there still isn't enough evidence yet of its long-term safety and efficacy among otherwise healthy children.
That said, some pediatricians may recommend very low doses of melatonin - less than 0.5mg per day - for certain conditions (e.g., delayed sleep phase syndrome), but only under close medical supervision ^2.
Possible Side Effects
Despite being a natural hormone produced within our own bodies , , taking exogenous melat inin (i.e., from external sources, such as supplements) may result in side effects that can be detrimental to a baby's health. For instance,
- Stomach discomfort
- Increased anxiety
- Sleepiness during the day. [^5]'
Additionally, melatonin might also interfere with other medications or products your baby is using, so it's critical to get clearance from your pediatrician first.
When Should Melatonin Be Avoided?
While there isn't enough data yet on using melatonin in otherwise healthy children to pinpoint any definitive red flags or contraindications , , you shouldn't give it to babies younger than six months without consulting a doctor first. Moreover:
- Pregnant women have been advised against taking melatonin since its potential risks for developing fetuses are not known.
- Nursing mothers should wait at least two hours after taking oral CBD drops before nursing their babies since these substances may accumulate in breast milk .
- People under medication (e.g., blood thinners like Warfarin and antidepressants) should avoid taking melatonin unless prescribed by a healthcare professional due to interactions/complications that could arise like internal bleeding,risk of seizures among epilepsy patients, and increased suicidal thoughts among adolescents.^6
Natural Ways To Help Your Baby Sleep Better
Before turning to any sleep aid - including melatonin - try some natural ways that might help enhance your little one's sleeping routine naturally:
- Stick To A Consistent Routine: Develop good bedtime habits early as possible.
- Daylight Exposure:Helping align the body clock of children.
3.Relaxation Technique_Alleviating stresses caused by daycare experiences_
4.Discourage Screen Time_ The blue light blocks signals when tiimefor rest.They provoke alertness hence interference amounts of sleep _
When it comes to the health and well-being of your little one, taking precautions is key. Although melatonin might seem like a quick fix for infant sleeping issues, there's not enough evidence available on its safety and efficacy among otherwise healthy children.
Before you decide to give any sleep-enhancing aid or drug therapy/supplements - including melatonin - parents must consult with their pediatrician first. If warranted, low doses may be prescribed under medical supervision, but natural remedies should always come first if possible
- Haimov I et al., Melatonin replacement therapy of elderly insomniacs https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16842563/ 4.Lack L.C.et al.,Melatonin treatment for chronic insomniahttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11879282/ 5.Hohjoh,H,Meltsdown its safety evaluation NCBI 6.How Much CBD Should I Give My Baby? Romper 7.Madeline Kennedy_ Melatonin supplementation: 'unsafe' for children Cardiovascular Business. 8.Richter CG Pregnant people shouldn't take unproven drugs against COVID19 –but some are still doing it. CBSnews.com/index.php/news.
exogenous means originating from outside an organism.