I am a breastfeeding mother and i want to know if it is safe to use Melatonin? Is Melatonin safe for nursing mother and child? Does Melatonin extracts into breast milk? Does Melatonin has any long term or short term side effects on infants? Can Melatonin influence milk supply or can Melatonin decrease milk supply in lactating mothers?

Melatonin lactation summary

Melatonin is safe in breastfeeding
  • DrLact safety Score for Melatonin is 1 out of 8 which is considered Safe as per our analyses.
  • A safety Score of 1 indicates that usage of Melatonin is mostly safe during lactation for breastfed baby.
  • Our study of different scientific research also indicates that Melatonin does not cause any serious side effects in breastfeeding mothers.
  • Most of scientific studies and research papers declaring usage of Melatonin safe in breastfeeding are based on normal dosage and may not hold true for higher dosage.
  • Score calculated using the DrLact safety Version 1.2 model, this score ranges from 0 to 8 and measures overall safety of drug in lactation. Scores are primarily calculated using publicly available case studies, research papers, other scientific journals and publically available data.

Answer by Dr. Ru: About Melatonin usage in lactation

Hormone secreted by Pineal gland which exerts its function by regulating the Circadian pattern of sleeping. It is naturally found in the mother's milk. The level of Melatonin in the plasma and breast milk increases by night. It is believed that helps to organize the sleep - awake cycle in breastfed newborns and infants. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and, it is found in many foods, either vegetable or animal in origin (meat, fish), eggs, wine and beer. On latest update, no relevant published data related to breastfeeding were found, however, known side-effects are mild and few. It is being used for co-treatment of several conditions in newborn infants and prematures, with good tolerance in spite of higher doses than those excreted in the breast milk.

Answer by DrLact: About Melatonin usage in lactation

Melatonin is the hormone produced by the pineal gland that plays a role in regulating sleep and circadian rhythm as well as a possible role in gut-brain signaling.[1] It is a normal component of breastmilk, with concentrations higher during nighttime than daytime.[2] Some authors suggest that mothers should nurse in the dark at night in order to avoid reductions in the melatonin content of breastmilk, which could disturb infant sleep patterns.[3] Differentiating milk pumped during the day from milk pumped during darkness has also been suggested for women pumping milk for their infants.[2][4] Some studies have attributed longer sleep time in breastfed infant than in formula-fed infants to melatonin in breastmilk.[5][6] Another study found higher colostrum melatonin levels at night which appeared to increase the phagocytic activity of colostral cells against bacteria.[7] Exogenous administration of melatonin has no specific use during breastfeeding and no data exist on the safety of maternal use of melatonin during breastfeeding. However, doses higher than those expected in breastmilk after maternal supplementation have been used safely in infants.[8] It is unlikely that short-term use of usual doses of melatonin in the evening by a nursing mother would adversely affect her breastfed infant, although some authors recommend against its use in breastfeeding because of the lack of data and a relatively long half-life in preterm neonates.[9] Dietary supplements do not require extensive pre-marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturers are responsible to ensure the safety, but do not need to the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements before they are marketed. Dietary supplements may contain multiple ingredients, and differences are often found between labeled and actual ingredients or their amounts. A manufacturer may contract with an independent organization to verify the quality of a product or its ingredients, but that does certify the safety or effectiveness of a product. Because of the above issues, clinical testing results on one product may not be applicable to other products. More detailed information #about dietary supplements# is available elsewhere on the LactMed Web site.
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