Can You Take Melatonin While Breastfeeding?

Are you having trouble sleeping at night?

Do you feel at your wit’s end when it comes to trying to figure out the best way to get a good night’s sleep?

Can you take melatonin while breastfeeding your little one?

You have probably heard that taking melatonin supplements can help improve your sleep cycles over time and give you a deeper and more restful sleep. But if you’re thinking about taking it for your own sleeping issues and you’re currently a nursing mom, it’s a good idea to make sure you understand everything about this supplement before you go out and buy it.

In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about melatonin, including what it is, what it’s used for, and how it can affect your baby. We’ll also explain a few ways taking melatonin while nursing may affect you as well.

By the time you finish reading, you should have a solid understanding of what to expect from taking melatonin while you’re still breastfeeding your baby, and you should be able to make a decision about whether or not to do this at all.

Read on to learn more.

What is Melatonin?

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Melatonin is something that occurs naturally in your body. It is made by the pineal gland, which is a part of your brain. When you sleep at night, your brain produces melatonin to help regulate your internal clock. Sleeping during the day isn’t as effective at helping melatonin production, since the amount of light when you’re sleeping has something to do with how much your body produces.

People who have trouble sleeping well at night or those who work night shifts and have to sleep during the day often have problems with melatonin production. This, in turn, can make you sleep even less and may lead to terrible insomnia or even seasonal depression.

Taking melatonin supplements can help regulate the amount of this hormone present in your body. The more regularly you take melatonin, the more of it will build up in your body, and you’ll find that over time, you’re able to sleep better and for longer stretches. However, it’s not without its consequences, and melatonin supplements aren’t for everyone. If you’re a nursing mom, you should heavily consider before you take them.

Can Melatonin Affect Your Baby?

When you take any supplements or medications, you’re probably wondering whether or not they can pass into your breast milk and be transferred to your baby. Most of the time, anything you ingest has the possibility of being present in your milk, although depending on what you’re taking it may or may not be at a high enough level to cause a problem. But what about melatonin? This is a hormone, so how can it affect your child while you’re nursing?

melatonin effects
  • The short answer is that melatonin can be present in breast milk and usually is, especially if the nursing mom has been taking it regularly for a few days. Since this hormone affects your sleep cycle, it can also affect your baby’s. Babies are still trying to regulate their own sleeping cycles at an early age, and introducing them to something that will impede this is not a good idea.
  • If you have a colicky baby or one who is having trouble sleeping well at night for a variety of different reasons, having too much melatonin in your milk may actually be very detrimental to your child’s ability to get back on the right track with sleep.
  • The further hormonal effects of melatonin on babies have not been fully studied yet, but many healthcare professionals believe that having too much of this hormone in their bodies could cause major issues for children as they are growing and developing.

Although the effects on your baby may not be as severe as they could be, it’s generally recommended for breastfeeding moms to avoid taking melatonin because of the potential issues it could cause for their little ones. However, if you’re still not sure, check out the following section to find out about what melatonin may do to you while you’re nursing, too.

Can Melatonin Affect You Negatively?

Your baby isn’t the only one who may have some issues when you take melatonin while breastfeeding—and some of the problems you may face could also end up negatively impacting your little one, too. Melatonin is a very powerful hormonal supplement, and it’s so strong that some people only take a half or a quarter of one pill every night to try to get to sleep. When taking something as strong as this, there are always going to be potential side effects, so be sure you understand these before you make your decision.

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  • Melatonin may affect your milk supply. While this doesn’t happen to every nursing mom who takes it, many have reported noticing a lower milk supply when using melatonin.
  • When taking melatonin, you may fall asleep while nursing your baby at night. This is a medication that makes it very difficult to stay awake when you’re in the middle of a sleep cycle. You may be able to get up and get your baby to nurse, but you may go back to sleep before he or she is finished, and this could be dangerous.
  • You may not be able to wake up to nurse your child when he or she cries during the night. You may not even hear your baby monitor, depending on how deeply you fall asleep due to the melatonin.
  • You may have hallucinations or vivid, frightening nightmares. Most people who take melatonin have very frightening nightmares at least every now and then while taking it. Some experience sleep paralysis, a condition related to these nightmares. Others may have hallucinations during the day, especially when taking too much melatonin at once.
  • You should absolutely never, under any circumstances, take melatonin while bed sharing. This medication will knock you out and will make it impossible for you to wake up enough to notice if you happen to roll too close to your baby during the night. If you must take melatonin, do not keep your baby in the bed with you during that time. And if you are bed sharing, you and your partner should never take any sleeping aids.

Conclusion

As you can see, it’s probably not a great idea to take melatonin while you’re nursing your baby. This is a strong over-the-counter supplement that works well but must be used in a very responsible manner. There are a lot of potential side effects that you may suffer from when you take melatonin, whether you only take it once or you take it regularly every night. And of course, there are always issues your baby may experience from the presence of any type of drug or supplement in your breast milk.

If you’re still looking for a way to sleep better at night without having to rely on such a strong supplement, however, be sure to bring this up with your doctor. You’ll be able to get some good recommendations for alternatives to melatonin that can help you get your sleeping cycle back on track in no time.

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