Can I give my baby Melatonin?
Some people have a hard time falling asleep naturally, and, believe it or not, babies suffer from this problem, too. When your baby has a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, it could leave them feeling tired, grumpy, clingy, and just groggy throughout the day. To combat this issue, more and more parents are turning to melatonin for babies.
If your child tends to cry and stay awake in their crib for hours, even when they should be tired, you might find yourself wondering how melatonin helps babies sleep so that you can begin implementing this supplement yourself. If you are anything like me, however, you might have a general understanding of melatonin, but lack the knowledge needed to medicate your child with it. This melatonin for babies guide can help you avoid remaining ignorant to what melatonin is and how it could benefit your baby.
What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in your (and your baby’s) brain, and it helps regulate sleep cycles. When the environment is dark, your brain produces more melatonin, and when it is bright, your body produces less. This is why it is generally recommended that your baby sleep in a dark room.
If your baby’s body is lacking in melatonin at sleep time, however, it could cause problems for them when they try to fall asleep. Although it is produced naturally, it is becoming much more common for people to consume supplements of this hormone or give supplements to their young children. Most commonly, those who suffer from insomnia or waking often during the night find relief in the form of melatonin supplements.
Further research shows that melatonin helps babies sleep, but it does not sedate the baby. It simply signals to the brain that it is time for sleep by releasing endorphins in the brain.
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How Much and How Often a Baby Should Sleep
Depending on the exact age of your baby, they should be sleeping for around 16 hours each day. Obviously, this event isn’t a straight 16 hours, as they only sleep for 3 to 4 hours at one time. At this age, babies are not expected to sleep fully through the night as they will want to wake up to eat at least one time.
You cannot expect your baby to sleep fully through the night each night, but a problem does arise when your baby is waking every hour or 2. If your baby simply wakes 1 time during the night, this event is completely normal and it sounds like no melatonin supplement is necessary.
Why You Might Need Melatonin For Babies
A newer idea for melatonin is to give it to babies to aid in regulating their sleep cycles. If your baby takes a long time to fall asleep (longer than what is considered normal), melatonin might be the way to go. Additionally, if you find your baby waking more often throughout the night than what is normal and they don’t seem to be ill, hungry, or uncomfortable, you may want to consider how melatonin helps babies sleep.
Melatonin for babies can help them fall asleep faster and sleep for a healthy amount of time. This is believed to promote physical and emotional well-being because it helps your baby get a solid resting time. It should only be used for short-term sleep help, and you should focus on promoting a more normal sleep cycle for your baby while you are implementing the supplements.
There are certain things you should try before turning to melatonin for babies, however, including:
- implementing and maintaining regular bedtime routines and times.
- Only allow your baby to sleep for a certain amount of times.
- Refrain from using electronics and lights an hour before bed.
- Make sure your baby is going to sleep with a clean diaper.
- Ensure your baby is not hungry before sleep time.
While usually, melatonin helps babies sleep, you may, unfortunately, find yourself still dealing with the problem of your baby not sleeping enough. If this occurs even after offering melatonin, there may be another underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
How Melatonin Helps Babies Sleep
For babies who have trouble sleeping, it is sometimes determined that their natural melatonin levels are lower than they should be. Of course, this poses a problem when it is time to sleep, and it will need to be addressed in some way. If you choose to go the route of a melatonin supplement, you will find that the supplement encourages normal sleep cycles by normalizing the melatonin levels in your baby’s body.
Eventually, it is predicted that the melatonin supplement will help your baby’s natural sleep cycles regulate. In the meantime, melatonin for babies should be given about 30 minutes before it’s time to sleep.
Is Melatonin For Babies Safe?
Melatonin for babies, in general, is safe, but you should always discuss it with your child’s pediatrician before beginning this supplement. You also have to be sure to follow the correct dosage, as giving too much can have dire consequences.
Following the correct dosage and guidelines given by a pediatrician, melatonin for babies is safe for short-term use only. There is not enough valid research done to guarantee the safety of long-term use, so it is important to avoid giving it for an extended length of time.
Safe Amount of Melatonin For Babies
The amount of melatonin for babies depends on the age, weight, medical conditions, and symptoms the baby is experiencing. Your baby’s pediatrician will consider all of these factors, and then prescribe or suggest an amount that will be safe and effective for your baby.
Just like with every other medication or supplement, you have to be very careful to follow the correct dosage, as an overdose might result in serious harm to your baby. A pediatrician should always determine the amount of melatonin that helps babies sleep.
Taking too much melatonin can result in the following complications:
- Vivid, unsettling dreams that are difficult to wake up from
- Nausea, illness, and an overall lack of well-being
- Diarrhea, bloating, and excess gas
- Grogginess continuing throughout the next day
- Slow movements and thoughts
Final Thoughts on Melatonin For Babies
Melatonin for babies is becoming increasingly common as parents learn more about the benefits and risks. If your baby isn’t sleeping enough, it can cause issues for both of you, and it could even hinder your baby’s growth and development.
While supplementing with melatonin helps babies sleep and is generally safe, it is important to consult your baby’s pediatrician before beginning. The pediatrician will consider a variety of factors before determining the frequency and the dosage necessary to help your baby sleep.
If you have already tried everything to help your baby sleep better, melatonin may be the way to go. You’ll likely find relief quickly and, if things work out as predicted, your baby will be able to establish a more normal sleep cycle even without the supplement.