Can You Take Melatonin While Breastfeeding?

As a nursing mother, you will naturally struggle with your sleeping schedule. Melatonin is one of the hormones in your body that control your sleep as well as your circadian rhythm.

However, there are also pills with synthetic Melatonin in them that could be administrated to people with poor sleep quality or insomnia. To absorb melatonin pills faster into the body, you should place the pill in the cheek or even under the tongue. But can you take melatonin pills if you are breastfeeding?

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Can you take Melatonin while breastfeeding?


Since Melatonin can easily pass in the breastmilk, it is recommended to avoid this synthetic drug if you are a nursing mother. There are other supplements and treatments that you can follow to get some well-deserved sleep. But, make sure you talk to your doctor before you start any type of treatment as a breastfeeding mother.

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What are the side effects of Melatonin?


Melatonin is not only unsafe during breastfeeding but also during pregnancy.

  • You should avoid this type of supplement if you are trying to conceive a well since it can intervene with other hormones in your body.
  • For women trying to conceive, Melatonin might cause the same effects as birth control, which will add a struggle to your process. However, some studies suggest you can take up to two or three mg of Melatonin a day even if you are pregnant or trying to conceive without exposing yourself at any risk.
  • More research is needed in this aspect, and you shouldn’t take any risks before talking to your doctor.
  • For nursing mothers, Melatonin is not going to be safe as it will get in the breastmilk and reach your baby’s system.
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What are the sleeping aids while nursing?


If you need to treat different levels of insomnia or a low-quality sleep as a nursing mom, doctors recommend antihistamines.

  • This is a category of medical drugs used to treats common viral infections such as a cold. One of their side effects is drowsiness, which makes them work great for improving sleep as well.
  • It is essential to mention that these medical drugs can also decrease the milk supply. Some of the most common antihistamines are Diphenhydramine, Nytol, or Sominex. But other products might help you sleep while you are breastfeeding.
  • It is essential to talk to your doctor to choose the right treatment for you.
  • As a nursing mother, it is important to avoid aspirin or medical drugs that contain this active ingredient and anti-inflammatory drugs as well.
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Can I take Unisom while breastfeeding?


You most likely heard of Unisom as one of the most popular sleep aids on the market.

  • This medical drug could be an alternative to Melatonin, but you should use it with caution if you are breastfeeding.
  • Unisom is one of the main antihistamines you will find in pharmacies. It is commonly known as doxylamine too. This drug can be part of an efficient treatment against cold and other health issues such as allergies, and it will give you a side effect of drowsiness as well.
  • If you use Unisom in bigger doses than the ones prescribed by the doctor or if you use it for a more extended period, you might notice a decrease in lactation.
  • But if you follow your doctor’s indications, you shouldn’t have to struggle with significant side effects as the dosage is important.
Can You Take Melatonin While Breastfeeding? 4 Reference: “Doxylamine – Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) – NCBI Bookshelf”. Accessed August 12, 2020. Link.
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Can I take ZzzQuil while breastfeeding?


Another popular, medical drug that will help you move past the sleeping issues is ZzzQuil.

  • As per the official ZzzQuil website, ZzzQuil should not be taken without talking to your healthcare provider first. The active ingredient in this medical treatment is Diphenhydramine.
  • This is an antihistamine as well, which is often used to treat high fever, allergies, and other symptoms of viral infections. While this treatment is efficient in reducing symptoms such as cough, vomiting, sneezing, runny nose, and others, it will also cause you to get sleepy and help you relax.
  • However, you shouldn’t overuse this treatment as just like other similar ones, it can decrease your breastmilk supply.
  • We should also mention that this drug is not suitable for children younger than 6 years as it is not safe, and it could generate side effects such as extreme drowsiness or vomiting.
  • In some cases, when the drug has a higher concentration of the active ingredient, you shouldn’t use it for children before they reach 12 years old.
  • Ask your doctor before starting any type of treatment or administrating it to your baby.
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Natural sleep medicine options for nursing mothers


Besides plenty of treatments that you could use to help you sleep better while you are breastfeeding, there are also natural remedies you could use during this time.

  • Chamomile tea is a well-known supplement that can help you sleep better as long as you drink it regularly before bedtime. Since sugar gives you energy, it is recommended to enjoy your chamomile cup of tea without sucha sweetener.
  • Valerian will also help you relax and enjoy the sleep you need even if you are nursing. Valerian is a plant that can turn to be useful even for the relief of stress, anxiety, or attention disorders.
  • Another natural treatment that might help you treat your sleeping problems is kava. This is a beverage based on the extract of the plant piper methysticum from the Pacific islands. There is no scientific study done on the effects of this herb while breastfeeding.
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Sleeping disorders are common during the nursing months. But if you follow the right treatment, you shouldn’t have to struggle with them too much. You should try the natural remedies first, even if you need to be more consistent to see results.

If the natural options don’t work, talk to your doctor, and see what treatment is best for your condition.

A proper diet and a relaxed environment will also help you cope with the nursing days insomnia that might bother you.

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Key References

  • “The circadian rhythm of tryptophan in breast milk affects the rhythms of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin and sleep in newborn – PubMed”. Accessed August 12, 2020. Link.
  • “Breastfeeding may improve nocturnal sleep and reduce infantile colic: potential role of breast milk melatonin – PubMed”. Accessed August 12, 2020. Link.
  • “Zzzquil Oral : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing – WebMD”. Accessed August 12, 2020. Link.
  • “Herbals and Breastfeeding”. Accessed August 12, 2020. Link.
  • “Kava Kava (Piper methysticum) – Restorative Medicine”. Accessed August 12, 2020. Link.


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