Melatonin For Babies: What You Should Know Before Using It

Melatonin For Babies: What You Should Know Before Using It

From red night lights to sound machines, parents of poor snoozers will try just about anything to get their little one to doze off. 

Not only are the nightly baby bedtime battles brutal for everyone involved, but their aftereffects are as well, often resulting in overtired tots and exhausted parents the next day. 

It isn't uncommon for melatonin to make its way into the conversation for sleepy moms and dads who have studied the baby books, soaked up the advice, and tried all the tips and tricks to no prevail. 

What Is Melatonin? 

Before administering anything to your little one, you should always make 100 percent sure that you're aware of exactly what you're putting into their tiny body — the case with melatonin is no different. 

In a nutshell, melatonin is a natural hormone produced in the brain's pineal gland. This all-important hormone is in charge of regulating your sleep cycles (aka — circadian rhythms). 

You see, when the sun goes, your noggin naturally produces more melatonin, which brings on the sleepies in preparation for bed. During the day, however, production of the hormone decreases, promoting a feeling of wakefulness. 

What Are Melatonin Supplements? 

As for the melatonin available over the counter, this supplement is a synthetic form of the sleepy hormone that we produce naturally. 

Although it's not controlled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — and therefore not subject to any regulations on its purity — commercially available melatonin is commonly marketed as a sleep aid for not just adults but children, too.

That being said, it's essential to keep in mind that there's currently very little research on the long-term effects of melatonin use in children. Due to it being a hormone, many experts question if melatonin can affect other hormonal development in adolescents. To clearly understand the long-term effects of supplemental melatonin on children, further research is needed. 

That’s why at Little Yawn Collective, we provide melatonin-free sleep solutions.

Can Babies Take Melatonin? 

Melatonin is not recommended for babies. Why? Because infants don't operate on the same 24-hour sleep cycle as adults and don't produce much melatonin naturally until a few months after birth. 

Early on, sleep for newborns is regulated by their need to eat. It's perfectly normal that little ones wake every two to three hours when they're hungry — in fact, newborns shouldn't snooze for long bouts of time and miss the nutrition needed to grow. 

You see, giving melatonin to babies would be counter to their normal physiology and body clock simply because melatonin production isn't part of the infant's sleep cycle just yet. 

If your small bundle struggles to summon the sandman, consult your pediatrician, who can help identify possible causes and develop a safe and effective treatment plan. 

Understanding The Little Guidance with Melatonin Use For Children

Due to its lack of regulation, there aren't any hard and fast rules for when babies can start taking melatonin and how much. In general, however, the sleep-inducing supplement shouldn't be given to healthy, typically developing kiddos under age three, as sleep struggles in these children are almost always behavioral in nature

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that supplemental melatonin should only be used after discussing it with your pediatrician and after using already established healthy sleep routines and habits that don't include medication. 

Since there are no set guidelines on melatonin dosing, it would be best to consult your pediatrician.

Understanding The Potential Risks and Side Effects

Currently, there is not enough research to determine its safety for long-term use in children. 

In addition, these popular supplements aren't regulated in the same way as medications or held to the same quality standards meaning they aren't tested for safety or effectiveness, and the concentration of melatonin can vary greatly from one batch to the next. 

In other words, when purchasing melatonin over the counter, you can't always be 100 percent sure what you're getting.

The side effects of melatonin use in kids are rare, but overuse or prolonged use has been reported to cause:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Grogginess
  • Bedwetting
  • Vivid dreams/nightmares
  • Dizziness
  • Head and neck tension

Of course, all children are different, so side effects may vary. 

How Can I Help My Baby Sleep? 

Dreaming about sleep while consoling your teary-eyed tot at two in the morning? Don't worry — we've all been there. 

Even the seemingly best snoozers sometimes have issues getting a peaceful night's rest. In other words, it's perfectly normal for babies to experience sleep struggles from time to time — so take a deep breath because you're certainly not alone. 

Most baby sleep struggles are caused by temporary things like developmental milestones or changes in routine — so the occasional bouts of chaotic sleep likely aren't anything to be concerned about. However, that doesn't mean they still don't drive us crazy!

If your little one is struggling to find sleep, these snoozy tips below are for you (and your sanity):

Tip #1: Soothing Bedtime Routine 

A soothing bedtime routine is key in helping your tiny tot drift off to dreamland. Bedtime routines gently reinforce babies' natural circadian rhythms, teaching them the difference between day and night. 

Now, there's no one-size-fits-all bedtime routine that works for every baby, so it may take some trial and error to find what suits your family best. Be flexible, try different things, and stick with it. 

Here's an example of a good bedtime routine that you can try:

  • Sing a soft lullaby or two before giving your baby a goodnight kiss. 
  • Turn on the white noise machine and turn off the lights.

Once you've perfected your little one's bedtime routine, it's essential to be consistent with it. Regularity is extremely comforting, which can help lull your baby into a peaceful slumber. 

Tip #2: Know Your Baby’s Cues 

In addition to implementing a soothing bedtime routine, keeping an eye out for snoozy cues that your tiny tot is sleepy is also a great way to promote restful zzzs. The most common baby sleep cues include yawning, fist-clenching, eye rubbing, and fussiness.

The goal in discovering your baby's cues is to put them down when they're drowsy — not when they're already fast asleep. This way, your little buddy has a chance to learn how to drift off to snoozeville without any assistance from you.  

When you notice your baby's sleep cues, spritz some of our gentle, melatonin-free Relaxing Pillow & Linen Spray in their room to create a restful environment and jump right into the soothing bedtime routine. Our dreamy sleep mist is infused with snoozy scents proven to foster a peaceful environment that helps fall asleep and stay asleep. What's not to love?   

The Bottom Line

So, is melatonin OK for babies? 

Not exactly. You see, the melatonin adults produce naturally works on a 24-hour schedule — this helps communicate to the brain when it's time to sleep. Babies, however, operate on a different sleep schedule that's regulated by their need to eat. 

Basically, what we're trying to say here is that melatonin isn't part of a little one's natural sleep cycle, and giving your tot the hormone via supplement would counter their perfectly normal physiology and body clock. 

Our naturally sourced, melatonin-free Probiotic & Organic Chamomile Sleep Drops are specially formulated for kids to encourage restful zzz's — without the next morning sleepies.

Here at Little Yawn Collective, we know the baby bedtime struggle all too well. That's why we masterfully created safe, effective, melatonin-free sleep solutions — made specifically for little buddies like yours. 

Whether you're looking for some bedtime routine inspo or simply on a mission to find science-backed sleep help that works, you can always count on us to bring on the zzzs, naturally. 

Check us out today and experience a happier bedtime tomorrow. Trust us, you'll be glad you did!


Sources:

Five things to know about melatonin for kids | Boston Children's Answers

Is Melatonin Safe for Kids? | Sleep Foundation

The Pineal Gland and Melatonin | Vivo

Melatonin and Children's Sleep | HealthyChildren.org

Is Melatonin Safe for Kids? | Sleep Foundation

Sleep-related melatonin use in healthy children | PubMed

CDC's Developmental Milestones | CDC

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