Can babies have melatonin?
Melatonin is a safe sleep aid that could save your baby those precious Z’s.
In the article below we will discuss what melatonin is, how it works, the benefits, possible side effects, and whether you should try it.
For parents wanting to know more about melatonin for babies, look no further!
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a natural hormone produced to regulate sleep patterns. Produced in the pineal gland, this hormone is what makes our bodies tired during bedtime.
When it is dark, your brain creates more, allowing your body to feel sleepy before bed.
Those who do not have naturally producing melatonin, take melatonin supplements. These can be found in pills, liquids, gummies, and chewable tablets.
Many have found melatonin supplements to aid interrupted sleep, insomnia, and other nighttime troubles.
Is Melatonin Safe for Babies?
Melatonin can be effective for babies, and many parents have had quite a success using the supplement. Melatonin is proven to be safe in adults, and in some cases children.
We recommend using melatonin as a final resort, rather than to force feed your child supplements.
Building a healthy sleep schedule should be the number one priority. Additionally, you should speak to your pediatrician before giving melatonin to your little one.
Once you take all the precautionary steps, you can begin to decide whether to use melatonin for infants.
Approximately 25% of children have a sleep-onset delay. This means it takes much longer for them to fall asleep when compared to other children.
In hopes to help, many parents have used melatonin to assist their children with falling asleep quicker.
Studies have shown that some children will gain more benefits from melatonin than others.
Children with insomnia, ADHD, and autism may benefit more. Though, babies will not have these diagnoses yet, making it harder for parents to decide.
We recommend going with your instinct, as you know your baby best. If you still are having problems with your baby’s sleep cycle despite efforts—maybe, it is time to try melatonin.
It is unknown if long-term use is safe in adults and children; therefore, we recommend using melatonin as a crutch to incorporate a positive sleep schedule, and not an all-time solution.
Overall, you can use melatonin to help your baby get the sleep they deserve, but we recommend using it temporarily.
Is There an Alternative to Giving Melatonin to My Baby?
If you are still skeptical about giving your child melatonin supplements, there are still many alternatives out there.
Our recommendation is to consider the baby formula you are using. Perhaps indigestion issues are causing baby to be cranky and unable to sleep well. We have plenty of sensitive formulas for babies to try.
Best Formula for Sensitivity to Cow's Milk
HiPP HA Stage 1
Age: 0-6 months
Size: 600g / 21oz
Prebiotics & Probiotics for healthy digestion, hydrolyzed milk proteins for reduced allergic reactions
These formulas are perfect for babies who need a good night rest the natural way. Most of our formulas are certified EU Organic, but all of them use organic grass-fed cows or goat's milk. Different types, such as HiPP Special Comfort, are designed to help babies feel satisfied longer while also providing extra sensitivity to babies with milk-tolerance struggles.
We suggest starting with the standard Organic European baby formulas first, like HiPP Dutch, and gradually working towards the most sensitive, in case the cleaner European ingredients in themselves can solve baby's discomforts.
Best Overall Organic Formula
HiPP Dutch Stage 1
Age: 0-6 months
Size: 800g / 28.22oz
Prebiotics & Probiotics for healthy digestion, No Maltodextrin, Skimmed Milk
Runner Up Organic Formula
Loulouka Stage 1
Age: 0-6 months
Size: 900g / 32oz
Coconut Oil instead of Palm Oil, Milk from Grass Fed Swiss Cows
Best Formula for the Most Sensitive Babies
HiPP Special Comfort
Age: 0 months +
Size: 500g / 17.6oz
Prebiotics & Probiotics for healthy digestion, Reduced lactose content, Hydrolzed milk protein
HiPP, Holle, Kendamil, Lebenswert, and Loulouka all use sustainable manufacturing methods and healthy ingredients.
The hardest decision is choosing which formula will work best for your baby. If it seems to be tummy issues, HiPP Combiotik and the Hypoallergenic Combiotik provide prebiotics and probiotics to aid digestion, allowing gas to be quickly controlled.
Kendamil is the only formula to provide whole milk, satisfying your baby longer - and Kendamil even adds prebiotics to help aid digestion as well.
Best Whole-Milk Formula
Kendamil Stage 1
Age: 0-6 months
Size: 800g / 28.22oz
Whole Milk option with MGFM, DHA/ARA from Algae Oil instead of Fish Oil, No Palm Oil
How Does Melatonin Work?
The purpose of melatonin in the body is the regulate the night and day cycle. Darkness causes the body to create more melatonin, while brightness does the opposite.
By taking melatonin supplements you can cause more sleep hormones.
When to Give it to Your Baby?
Melatonin should be taken near your babies’ bedtime. Some melatonin brands advertise ‘slow-release.’ This means that you should feed it 30 minutes before bedtime.
Others will feed their baby melatonin right as they put them in their crib. Both will make your child sleepier and help them to catch enough rest.
We recommend giving your child melatonin at least 30 minutes before bedtime and helping them to calm down. The supplement alone will not do all the magic, so be sure to give them plenty of comfort to ease them to sleep.
How Much Melatonin Should I Give My Baby?
Melatonin can be tricky when it comes to deciding on the dosage. Some babies may benefit from a lower dose, while others a higher one.
The basic rules to determine this are the following:
We recommend starting at the lowest dose possible (0.5-1mg,) and increase slowly. Remember that melatonin is a hormone and unlike other medications. Sometimes a lower dose works better than a higher one.
For babies’ sleep schedules, giving them melatonin 30 minutes before bed is best. This is because of their shifting sleep schedules earlier (3-6 hours of naps.)
Melatonin is not going to eliminate all sleep troubles. You need to practice a healthy sleep routine to provide them with quality sleep. This means limiting the light exposer, having a comfy crib, a blanket if cold, ventilation if hot, and a comfort object (if old enough and it's a sleep-time safe object).
Additionally, you should put them to bed and wake them up at the same respective times. A proper sleep schedule can truly make the difference as this sets their internal clock.
On a final note, make sure you limit sugary foods and screen time near bedtime. These small differences can help your baby fall asleep even faster with the aid of melatonin.
Benefits of Melatonin
Now that we know more about what melatonin is and how it works—let us see the benefits.
This one might come obvious, but it can be a true lifesaver.
Sleep can come easy or hard for some children. Not getting enough sleep can be damaging on an infant’s body. To provide them with the relief needed to gain enough sleep, melatonin can help in a time of need.
Can ease tension and stress:
Whether your baby is having a fussy day, or you desperately need to catch up on sleep—melatonin can help. Household tension and stress can upset your baby’s sleep cycle. Melatonin can be a wonderful temporary solution to fixing both you and your baby's sleep cycle.
Melatonin can increase the production of antioxidant enzymes. These super enzymes can protect baby’s bodies against oxidative stress. Additionally, it can protect babies against toxins that can disturb mitochondrial function. This provides a two-in-one benefit!
Boosts the immune system:
Not only does melatonin provide antioxidants, but it boosts the immune system. It will give your baby the strength needed to fight against disease and infections. This is especially important as babies are very susceptible to diseases at an early stage in their life.
Improves gut health:
Many do not know this, but melatonin is also produced in the stomach!
This is because it can help soothe digestion. For infants dealing with nighttime tummy troubles, melatonin can help. In some cases, it has shown to be effective for stress-induced stomach damage, inflammation, colitis, IBS, and ulcers.
If your baby has a serious medical condition, as always, contact your doctor for advice.
It can help GERD:
Surprisingly enough, melatonin can help reduce acid reflux in infants.
Melatonin GERD study states that melatonin has a potential therapeutic effect.
It helps by supporting the lower esophageal sphincter and relaxes it. This is ideal for babies with minor nightly spit-ups.
Also, if your baby has acid reflux, you try HiPP AR as well and see which solution works the best!
Improves eye health:
Another awesome benefit—melatonin can support healthy vision. It does so by strengthening cone cells that help babies to see colors. Additionally, it protects nerve cells that are essential for vision. Lastly, it can decrease pressure in the eye from glaucoma and prevents the death of nerve eye cells.
Improves insulin Function:
Low melatonin levels can increase the risk of diabetes. Though most babies will have no need to worry, as diabetes is not an illness they typically contract.
Some babies are born with diabetes, and melatonin can improve insulin balance for babies with type 1 diabetes. For mothers with a diabetic child, this can be comforting and help keep your baby healthy!
Nourishes Skin and Clears Eczema:
A study trial proved that melatonin can be helpful in treating eczema and damaged skin. Eczema can bring itchiness, dryness, and irritated skin in babies.
Now imagine how hard it is for your little one to sleep when they are in pain. Some research suggested that children suffering from eczema may have lower melatonin levels. This has yet to be evaluated by the FDA, but studies continue to test this proven claim.
Can Help Blind Children:
Melatonin can help blind infants to get much needed rest. In serious cases, some infants with blindness may have issues with sleep wake time. This is because they do not have light regulating their internal clock and can develop sleep disorders. A few small trials have taken place in blind adults, but the information is new. The same effect could occur in infants and children.
Side Effects of Melatonin in Children
Melatonin is safe and useful in most children. Though in some cases, in can be harmful. Here are the possible side effects of melatonin in children.
The side effects of melatonin in toddlers is the same as in babies. If you notice any of these, stop giving your child melatonin immediately and contact your pediatrician.
If your child is showing above average signs of sleepiness during daytime—there could be a problem. This effect might occur in children even if melatonin is given in the evening before bedtime. As always, keep your eyes peeled for any abnormalities in daytime sleeping.
During the first days of melatonin, your baby may show signs of irritability because of the new sleep cycle. This is perfectly normal and subsides after a week or less.
Some infants will get sick from melatonin and show signs of nausea. This can be minor or serious depending on how they show it. Some infants may spit up and others may contract reflux. If your child is suffering in these ways, it is best not to give them melatonin.
Diarrhea & Constipation:
Along with nausea, other stomach issues can arise when taking melatonin. Though this is rare, it can happen. If you notice any strange stool patterns, such as diarrhea or constipation, stop feeding your child melatonin. If the situation continues, contact your child’s doctor.
If you notice that your child is lacking energy, melatonin could be triggering this. Do not give your child melatonin if it is beginning to ruin their daily activities.
Though babies do not move as much as grown children, they still need to have enough energy to enjoy playtime activities.
Where to Buy
You can buy melatonin for babies at most health stores. Make sure the melatonin is in a liquid form, as babies could choke on tablets.
You can also find baby melatonin on Amazon.
The following can help infants to fall asleep and stay asleep:
Make your child a healthy sleep schedule:
This means waking them up and putting them asleep at the same times. Babies still need plenty of naps during the day, so be sure they get enough, but not too much rest.
Proper feeding schedule:
Eating too little or too much can disrupt a sleep schedule. Make sure not to over feed your child. Additionally, feed your child at least 2 hours before bedtime. A full stomach can easily cause them to become nauseas and awake.
Additionally, be sure to avoid caffeine and sugars near bedtime. These foods can cause your child to be actively awake and unable to sleep.
Avoid Screen Time:
Too much screen time can result in a melatonin deficiency.
Some parents might give their child the tv or tablet to entertain them. This is unhealthy for developing minds and should only be used in moderation.
These behaviors can damage brain growth and enable terrible sleeping habits. Unplug the phone, tablet, or tv and provide your child with important bonding time. Book reading can really do the trick and provide your children language developmental skills as well!
Buying a white noise machine might instantly solve your baby’s sleep trouble.
What is white noise? Simply put, white noise is a steady hum produced by combining multiple frequencies together. This sounds complicated, but it is a perfect remedy.
These machines are cheap, and you can buy them in store or online. If you have a Google home or Alexa system, set up a speaker in their room and ask Google/Alexa to play white noise. A cheap alternative is to buy a white noise CD or play a YouTube video on a device.
One reason why both parents and babies love white noise is because it cancels out surrounding noises. This is PERFECT for those with loud roommates, aka, other smaller children, or apartment dwellers.
To help your child feel safe and secure, make sure their crib is cozy. Keep the bedroom, quiet, dark, and cool.
Make sure they have a comfy blanket if it is cold and a comfort object. These small differences can help your child go to sleep sooner.
If you have a newborn, the SNOO smart sleeper bassinet is the way to go! Not only does it securely hold and snuggle baby, but the gadgets and rocking feature make it the baby soothing dream. PLUS, it has the white noise already built into the bassinet.
Can you overdose on melatonin?
Like any supplement, you can. If you feed your baby too much melatonin, it can disrupt their sleep-wake cycle. Other unwanted side effects may occur was well.
Young children should take melatonin only if recommended by a doctor.
How long does melatonin last?
Melatonin’s effects can last up to 5 hours but can linger into the next day. Depending on the dosage given, it can last up to 7 hours.
Can you take melatonin while pregnant?
Melatonin has not been proven to be safe to take during pregnancy. It is considered safe for short-term use, but long-term effects have not been studied. It is safe to take only if given the okay by your doctor.
Is melatonin addictive?
If you feed your baby melatonin for a long time, they may become reliant on it. Although there are no withdrawal effects or tolerance. It is not addictive when comparing it to a drug, but you should still only give your baby melatonin as a short-term solution.
What is melatonin made of?
This will depend on the brand and the form of melatonin. Typically, baby melatonin are syrups, and may or may not be full of harmful ingredients. We recommend feeding your child a liquid melatonin with zero added sugar or preservatives. This will help your child to stay healthy and to stay asleep.
Does melatonin have gluten?
In most cases, no, but some brands will contain gluten. The chemical structure itself contains no gluten or wheat, but some liquids, gummies, or tablets will contain gluten. Makes sure to read the nutrition label to make sure there are no traces of gluten or potential allergies.
Giving melatonin to babies can be a great sleep aid. Before you begin giving your child melatonin, ask your doctor.
There are many benefits besides a regulated sleep schedule babies get from melatonin.
Additionally, it is important to ensure the type of melatonin is healthy and contains no added sugars.
If your child has any allergies, double check the brand to be sure there are no traces of them. Be alert and notice the signs of potential side effects.
Never keep your baby on melatonin long-term and make sure to incorporate a healthy sleep schedule alongside it.
Mothers unsure about melatonin may find sensitive formulas or other alternatives helpful.
Regardless, melatonin is a safe supplement that will help both you and your baby get a well-earned rest.