Can you take Melatonin while Breastfeeding?
Can you take Melatonin while Breastfeeding? No, there is no direct evidence that encourages the consumption of melatonin supplements during breastfeeding. However, some sources state that the short term may not do any harm. Melatonin formed naturally in your body is passed to the baby while you nurse. If you start taking melatonin supplements, it may imbalance its amount and the sleep cycle of an infant having adverse effects on his/her health.
Many new mothers suffer from sleeping problems. That is because their babies do not have any sleep pattern, and they have to stay up at night to nurse them. The first 2-3 months of babies can be really hectic for mothers. Some of you may want to take melatonin to get some rest during the day to get fresh. A little melatonin in the evening may not affect your baby, but higher doses may be harmful to you and your baby. It is best to consult your doctor before using supplements.
In this article, you will learn about the use of melatonin, the effects of melatonin on infants and yourself, and the alternative ways to improve your sleep.
Importance of Breastfeeding
When your baby is born, your body establishes a milk factory to feed him/her. Choosing to breastfeed your little ones is beneficial for both mother and baby. It protects your baby against different viruses, increases IQ, provides perfect nourishment, and helps the baby grow probiotics. Breastfeeding has known to reduce the risks of many fatal diseases in moms. It helps to stop post-pregnancy bleeding and helps to lose baby fat faster.
What is the use of Melatonin Supplements?
Many adults have problems falling asleep at night. People have different ways to deal with it. Melatonin is a sleep hormone that is naturally produced in the brain during the dark. It manages the natural clock of your body that tells you when it is time to fall asleep or wake up. Apart from that, it also helps to control your food intake time and digestion. It is now also available in the form of popular supplements. Many people are using this supplement as a replacement for sleeping pills. It is best to regulate sleeping schedules for those who travel a lot or work at night. This supplement has assisted many people who are differently-abled, blind or have insomnia.
How does Melatonin affect a Baby’s sleep?
Infants produce deficient levels of melatonin; that is why they have no proper sleeping schedule. Melatonin also passes from the mother to infants chiefly at night time. Researchers have found that a substance named tryptophan in breast milk helps the baby’s body to generate melatonin. The production of melatonin increases as babies grow. They start showing a rhythmic sleeping cycle.
What are the Risks of taking Melatonin while Breastfeeding?
You must keep in mind the following side effects in your mind before using melatonin while breastfeeding
Impact on the Infant’s health
Things you consume pass to your baby through breastmilk. Newborn babies are susceptible and may react to access melatonin. Your baby can fall prey to its side effects like cold, stomach ache, and dizziness. Also, it may severely affect the physical and mental development of your baby. In the early months, the baby relies entirely on breastfeeding, so make sure it is nourishing and safe for your child.
Effect on Nursing
The use of melatonin can make you dizzy, nauseous, and sleepy at all times. It makes your baby vulnerable. Due to its side effects like headache and nausea, you may not be able to take care of your newborn. You must stay alert at all times with the baby and cannot risk anything. Also, you need to be awakened to be able to breastfeed your baby day and night.
Ways to Improve Sleep without using Melatonin Supplements
The question that arises here is what you should do to improve your sleep.
Things to do
The following are things you can do as an alternative to using supplements or pills.
- Take Herbal tea
Herbal teas are the best way to calm yourself at night. These are available in many flavors like jasmine, chameleon, lavender, lemon, mint, cardamom, or cinnamon. You can easily make them at home or buy tea bags. Many fruity green teas are also available in the market. You can get any flavor of your choice. A serving of green tea in the evening will help relax your nerves and make you fall asleep quickly. Apart from that, it improves digestion and helps with anxiety and stress.
- Use Scents
Oil diffusers or scented candles are everywhere nowadays because of their surprising benefits. Natural scents and oils have proved to be revitalizing and soothing for your mind. Essential oils of rose, coconut, jasmine, lavender, and many more things are available. Diffusing any of your favorite aromas will do wonders for your mind. The natural fragrance will help to get a clear mind before sleeping. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can use scented candles of your choice. You can pick from a wide range of aromas. The calming and beautiful perfume will enhance your sleep.
- Optimum Lighting
Lighting is one of the most vital factors in regulating the natural production of melatonin in your brain. Ensure proper lighting during the day time. As soon as you wake up in the morning, make sure to open your blinds or curtains and get maximum natural light in your space. Getting maximum daylight will kick start your brain. As the sun goes down, switch to dimmer lights. After eating dinner, try to use lamps or fairy lights. These are quite therapeutic for you. Do not expose yourself to the bright lights in the evening as they mess up the melatonin activation. Also, try to avoid mobile phones, laptops, or television at night. Nowadays, everyone is in the habit of scrolling through their feeds before sleeping. The blue light from these gadgets is the major contributor to insomnia.
Get Melatonin through your diet.
Many fruits and vegetables contain melatonin or elements that your brain uses to stimulate it. The foods containing melatonin are responsible for making you sleepy after eating. Bananas, berries, mushrooms, oranges, walnuts, and oats are some natural sources of melatonin. Seafood contains components that your brain uses to generate melatonin. So, if you are breastfeeding and struggling with sleeping issues, you should try adding the natural sources in your diet rather than supplements. Eating proper healthy food will enhance your sleep.
Things to avoid
If you have sleeping issues preventing the following things will assist your sleep cycle.
Cut down your caffeine as much as possible. Coffees, lattes, and energy drinks contain a high amount of caffeine. If you are consuming these, try to switch to healthy options like decaf coffee, mocha, green tea, golden milk, or hot chocolate. The side effects may include restlessness, dehydration, shakiness, and unusual rapid heartbeat. Dehydration can affect your breast milk production. If you have trouble sleeping, you must try to avoid caffeinated drinks.
White sugar is white poison, especially when it is consumed before bed. Soft drinks, processed chocolate shakes, or juices comprise at least 50% of sugar content. Besides that, sweet bakery items and junk food also have adverse effects on your mind and body. When you consume these things, your blood sugar level rises to an insane degree. This increases brain activity at night and makes it harder to sleep. When the blood sugar level falls suddenly, it can cause headaches, tiredness, high BP. So, you must try to lessen the intake of refined sugar products. If you have cravings, try switching to healthier snacking options. Frozen fruits, dark chocolate, or smoothie bowls can help to satisfy your sweet tooth. Try to replace white sugar with other natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or stevia.
Stop being lazy. Try to take some time to yourself. Looking after the little ones can be tiring. When you get some free time, do not waste it being lazy instead do some fun activities or exercise. Light exercise or a walk accompanied by nature and fresh air will do wonders for your health. It will naturally enhance your sleep and mood. It will improve your blood circulation. Also, meditation is best to cure sleeping issues. These activities require no equipment and are natural ways to relieve stress and exertion.
To conclude, I will say that the use of melatonin is not appreciated during breastfeeding. There is no research in favor of using melatonin supplements during pregnancy or breastfeeding. If you are suffering from a sleeping problem, restlessness, or jet lag, you must consult experts before taking supplements. In addition to that, there are tons of natural healthy ways (as mentioned above) that you can follow to enhance your sleep. By adopting a particular wholesome lifestyle and avoiding somethings, you can quickly get rid of sleeping disturbance. In short, while nursing your baby, it is best to opt for natural ways and remedies instead of taking medication.