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Ep. 208 – Melatonin and Breastfeeding

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*We apologize for any typos, misspellings or incorrect grammar. Our transcript is auto-generated by software that’s trying its best, just like all of us.*

Hey everybody, welcome back to the Milk Minute. Welcome, welcome. It’s a beautiful day in Morgantown, West Virginia, and I’m in the basement with no windows. It’s so nice, I wish I could experience it, but we are sacrificing our vitamin D for everybody today.

Yes. And if you’d like to hear our vitamin D episode, that link will be in the show notes. Well, what’s going on with you dear? It’s just like it’s been forever since we actually talked. I know, I, well, there’s reasons for that. Reason number one, I have a four month old. Reason number two, I’m in the middle of a rebrand, so the business is officially Busy Moms Healthcare, with little sub departments under it.

So we have Breastfeeding for Busy Moms, Primary Care for Busy Moms, GYN for Busy Moms, and hopefully, fingers crossed, we’re gonna have Pelvic PT for Busy Moms as well. Ooh. Oh, that’s so exciting. Yeah. I hope you do. Yeah. You know this office that I feel like I just moved into? I’m looking around going, I think I need more space.

Don’t have enough room. Oh, God. No. We’re gonna be like doing double duty in the podcast studio. So, whatever. Sounds great. It’s a good PT room, right? Yeah, it actually is. There’s no windows. So, like, pants off. Let’s party. There we go. What’s going on with you? Well I just had a birth this morning. Baby came at one in the morning.

And it was a very stressful one. Everyone’s fine, but it was really stressful. And then I got like a three hour nap and woke up to another person calling me. Being, and it was this, Lovely woman’s husband being like, Oh, well, don’t you know, I was just calling to let you know she’s having some contractions.

And I was like, Oh, I love my job. I love my job. I love, I was like, Oh yeah, no problem. Absolutely. I will stop by this morning and check on everything and hung up the phone and just screamed into my pillow for about five minutes. They’re fine. They’re not in labor, clearly, because I’m here. But, yeah, and then I’m texting you like, we’re recording today, right?

And you’re like, TBD. I don’t fucking know. Anyway, it’s fine. Yeah, it’s fine. Fine, fine, always fine. Yeah, I don’t know. I feel like we’re at this really cool part of our lives where we’re going to look back and be like, whoa, we were so badass. But like, when you’re living it every day, it’s like, It feels like you’re highly unqualified.

It feels exhausting and it feels like no matter what you’re doing, you’re prioritizing incorrectly. I don’t know if you’re at this point right now in your career, but here’s where I am. Cause we’re in the middle of doing our taxes. So this is what I’m thinking about every day is don’t even get me started.

Right? Oh shit. I made more money than I thought, but I didn’t know it because our expenses matched it exactly. But it was enough that now I have to pay way more taxes, honey. Yes. Yeah. Well, luckily for me and really I can only say this because we got absolutely walloped by taxes the couple of years prior this year.

I don’t know if you guys have. paying attention with your eyes wide open, but the mortgage industry is like really shitty right now. And my husband’s a mortgage broker. So there was like that huge boom where the rates were like really low and everyone was refinancing. And he was like busier than he could ever be.

And he made great money. And I was like, Oh my God, we are almost like legit middle class. So then we get walloped by taxes. We drain all of our accounts. And then the next year I’m like, God, it feels really tight. Like everything is just. Like expensive inflation hits and I’m like, I guess it’s just inflation.

No, he made like 50 percent less money than he made the year before. Plus I poured all the extra money we did have into the business. So I’m like, dear God, please let all of these write offs add up to be, that’s where we’re at. We’re like, how, how many more write offs can we have in there? Yeah, I know. And I’m cash goes, I’m glad we had a baby.

Yeah. I was like, Oh, I know. I was literally being like, Ivan, did we jump the gun on a vasectomy because we could use another defendant? Yeah, except the daycare costs offset that by a mile. Oh, God. I know. It’s fine. It’s, there’s just, my life has become a bit of a spreadsheet, which is a little stressful.

So we’ve got like numbers over here, numbers over, carry the two, and I’m tired. Yeah, well, my husband is mostly doing our taxes, which is fine. And I was like, you. Do that, and I will hire a CPA whenever you want me to. So this is your choice. This is a choice you’re making, Ivan. Yeah, so I don’t know if you guys are out there doing the same thing that we’re doing, but I know you’re busy because you’re moms and parents in general, and it’s a lot.

It’s a lot right now. Yeah, and I have to say, like, my stress level I feel like has just been low level elevated because of, like, the political stuff in West Virginia right now, too. Oh my gosh. Do you guys even know what’s going on? I mean, it’s not Alabama, but it’s close, close. If you want to know, actually, you should go follow Kayla young on Tik TOK.

She is a delegate in the house in Kanawha County, and she has just been spilling the tea every single day. She’s like, get ready with me while I tell you how your rights are disappearing. And it’s great. I like her a lot. And we had, we had tried to push a bill through for midwifery licensure earlier in the year.

That is. It’s just effectively dead. It’s not technically dead. It’s the worst. They’re like, no, it’s still out there. I’m like, yeah, and you’re not doing anything with it. Thank you. They basically like put their boot on your neck. They were like, you’re not dead, but you’re not going anywhere. Yeah, they were like, oh no, the paper fell behind the desk.

We’ll get it later. Like that’s where it is right now. Anyway, I’m just not putting energy into it until the interim. But Kayla was super helpful for us with it this year, but yeah, it’s just like one awful bill after another, you know, we have this absolutely BS women’s bill of rights, which was really just a bill to like restrict the rights of trans people.

Yeah. We had this weird baby Olivia thing. Yeah. What the fuck was that? Who is baby Olivia and why? No, no, it’s like the video. It’s like something about like sex ed and teaching kids about like fetal development and so they mandated That they had to watch this one particular video that’s like not, not scientifically accurate.

Would you like me to read it to you? I actually have it pulled up. It’s weird. The Baby Olivia Bill would require public schools to show a three minute high definition video showing the development of the brain, heart, sex organs, and other vital organs in early fetal development to 8th graders and 10th graders.

Not sure what happened to ninth grade. The video is produced by Live Action, an anti-abortion rights advocacy group that produces media content. It begins by showing a sperm and an egg meeting, followed by a flash of light and a narrator saying, this is where life begins. A new human being has come into existence.

Yeah. So it’s just like piling on to restricting abortion rights in West Virginia. And I just have to say, like, I have had some very. Very difficult cases this year with patients that have really highlighted why restricting abortion rights is. A fucking travesty and it, like okay, I’m not going to cry.

It, it’s, it’s horrible. It’s horrible. And I feel like I’ve just been nonstop trying to help people figure out what rights they actually have here. And if they don’t have them here, where they can go to. to exercise those rights. And I hate that. Yeah, I mean, it’s like, thanks for making me feel sneaky even when I’m doing everything right as a provider.

Because you’re constantly checking in. Am I following the law? Am I also serving this patient in the best way I can? Has the law changed? Am I about to go to jail? Yeah, oh yeah, and every time I’m like, Wow, good question. Let me double check. The laws, because I feel like they’re just getting more and more strict and what, what was allowed after the last legislative season is maybe not this one.

And, and then, yeah, we had this, those wild Supreme Court rulings out of Alabama about embryos being children, frozen little baby children. Yeah, what good, I hope you get a generator, because if your power goes out and all the little embryos, Thaw. Is it like negligent homicide? What are we doing here?

It’s, it’s like so ridiculous. It feels like it should be a joke, right? And it’s also the thing that we as folks who are very vehemently pro-choice, and I know not all our listeners are, you know, but Heather and I are, and we have been talking about this possibility for years, right? Like, I feel like this is just a random talking point that always came up in more civil conversations with anti-abortion folks being like, okay, what about IVF?

Because IVF discards more embryos than abortions ever will. How do we feel about that? What’s going on? You know, where, where it feels a little bit like hypocrisy a little bit. That doesn’t concern y’all and now we’re here. And now we’re here. And I’m like, wow, wow, we did tell you that. Well, yeah, it’s weird, cause like, even my dad, who is like, very pro-life, thinks it’s ridiculous that this Alabama ruling is happening, and I’m like, but don’t you kinda see that like, an embryo in a tube is the same as an embryo in a uterus?

And so it’s like the woman that makes the difference, right? It’s like, yeah, but you’re being selfish because And that is the, the most obvious example of why this is not about babies. This is about controlling women. Also, I just want to say that I have trans friends that are now trying to find apartments in other states that are more trans friendly as safe havens.

They should. The state is a terrifying place to be. I know, but it also, it just breaks my heart because it’s people that have like very normal families that are taxpaying citizens who are functioning at very high levels in society. And it’s like, okay, we’re losing talent. We’re losing, you know. And I wish I could talk to, you know, friends.

when we’ve had these conversations and be like, no, you should stay. We’ll help you. But it doesn’t matter what we do when the laws are what they are. Yeah. I mean, according to this, my trans friend should not even be within 2, 500 feet of a school to drop her daughter off. Right, it’s, yeah, if anyone’s interested in reading these, they are all, all these bills are right on the West Virginia Legislature website, just right out there.

Yeah, by the way, we used to be a democratic state, not too long ago. Yeah, not that long ago. And now we are not, and now it’s gone like so far right, if the world was flat, we’d fall off the edge. Yeah, it’s, I know, it is really crazy to think about the timeline, not just for our state too, like a number of other states kind of in this between the north and south area as well.

Yeah, it’s, I don’t know. It’s weird. Historically, West Virginia has never been as southern as it is. Right now. Right now. Yeah. I know. And I just, I always, every time I see somebody with a Confederate flag here, I’m like, do you, can you read? Because you know, we were not part of the Confederacy, right? You do know where you are in proximation to the Mason Dixon line, right?

Do you know that? Do you know that we left for that reason? Keep driving. Anyway, we love you guys. If you’re having a hard time because of these rulings, we are with you. We called all the people all the time. We shared it. We did what we could. I’ve made friends with lots of secretaries at the legislature this year.

Hey Denise, it is me calling back again. Yes, it is about that bill again. How are you? How are your kids? Yeah. Oh gosh, if only I were a man. I could get more done, but then I’d be trans and I’d have to leave. You know what? But then you’d be a man. I mean, I there’s a, there’s a bookstore opening here in Elkins and it’s great.

We’re all excited. And their first author event is next month. And I was like, Oh, I should go. And then I saw it was a man. And I was like, I don’t read books written by men actually. Life is too fucking short for that. Yeah. There’s a lot of books out there. Well, anyway. We had to give that update because we feel that it is our responsibility because we have these microphones and other people don’t and we want to share that with you all.

So anyway if you’ve made it this far, congratulations. Today, we’re going to talk about melatonin and breastfeeding and, and I actually just got a question about this the other day. So I’m glad that we’re going to have this episode to share. Obviously, exclusive pumpers asked me this question. Yeah, well I, I, this has been on my list for a while, but someone I work with had mentioned taking melatonin and I was like, ah, and I almost did my whole melatonin rant.

And then I was like, I should save it for the podcast. Oh, good. Let’s hear it. Before we do that, patrons to thank. A big thank you to Kate Penna and Samantha Roberts. Thank you for joining our Patreon. We deeply appreciate that. If you guys want to be our exclusive Patreon members, you can go to Patreon.

com slash Milk Minute Podcast. And today’s question is from Allison from our Facebook group. And Allison says, If I had high lipase with my first baby, will I have it again? I’m six days away from delivery. Ooooooo! So, the answer is maybe. It’s, it’s really hard to tell, you know, we don’t have studies on that.

Anecdotally. It seems like it’s an absolute crapshoot. Some people it happens again to, some people it doesn’t. My personal story is that I had very high light phase activity with my first. And my second, I honestly didn’t notice any of that until she was like, almost a year old. So. Yeah. And then also every baby is different and most babies don’t give a shit about lipase in milk or the flavor.

So, you know, if your first baby was very picky, maybe this baby will be really laid back and just be very thankful for any milk that you put in their mouth. Absolutely. And, you know, if it happens again, you have some experience with it, and you can be much more prepared this time. Alright, let’s take a quick break to thank a sponsor, and when we get back, we’re gonna dig into melatonin.

Have you guys ever been listening to our show and thought to yourself, man, I really want to work one on one with Maureen? I do every day that I sit here podcasting across from you. Well, lucky for you and everybody at home, I offer both in person and virtual support through my business. And in my business, Highland Birth Support, I’m dedicated to mentoring you guys through your childbearing year.

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Thank you, and I just feel really happy to serve everybody, and I’m so happy I can expand my services virtually as well. Yeah, telehealth for lactation has been really important through the pandemic, and I think we just about got it perfected at this point. So if you guys want to work with me, head over to HighlandBirthSupport.

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Alrighty, welcome back. Okay, since melatonin is fascinating and a random hyper focus of mine, let’s dig into it today. I want to talk first about melatonin and how it works in the body before we talk about safety with breastfeeding. Okay, because I think safety with breastfeeding is kind of the least of my worries with this.

Okay. Oh, God. Are you about to scare the shit out of me? No. Well, full disclosure, I hate melatonin. I won’t take it. I don’t think that means everybody shouldn’t take it. Personally, I’m one of those people who has like nightmares from it and it’s not for the hypothyroid girlies just up front. But let’s, let’s talk about why we might not want to take it or we might, who knows?

Okay. Well, let’s start even more basic and just talk about what it is because there’s a lot of people who are furiously Googling. Am I taking melatonin? Like, what is melatonin? Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces in your pineal gland. It’s a little tiny gland right inside your brain that is part of your endocrine system.

And as far as I know, that is the only hormone the pineal gland makes. Okay. This is one fucking job. I think you had one job. And it produces a very tiny amount each day, less than one milligram. Okay? Okay. That is what your body functions on. Usually like half a milligram. No matter how big or small you are?

Right. Mm hmm. Yeah, so we’ll just say that again, less than a milligram a lot of studies show it’s more like a third of a milligram, a half a milligram for functioning normal humans, okay? Now, this hormone helps to synchronize your circadian rhythms. in all the parts of your body, right? So not just when you sleep and wake, but that is kind of the most simple way to describe it, right?

Your circadian rhythm is when you’re awake and when you’re asleep. However, it also affects like digestion and other hormones and things like that because your whole body is regulated by sleep and wakefulness, right? So like your liver goes to sleep. Your lungs go to sleep. I mean, truly, like, all of your body systems change when you are awake and asleep, and they all have this lovely, interconnected feedback system.

I wanted to talk about, like, a little bit about how it does this, because I didn’t know that before I was, like, doing this. You know, why not? Okay, so it, it affects a lot of cells in the human body, but we’re just going to focus mostly on like, how it affects your sleep clock. Right so it’s sleep promoting actions, right, more melatonin usually means more sleep are mostly caused by its feedback to the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or the SCN, which is also known as the master clock of your body.

Oh, my. The SCN is located in the hypothalamus and it is primarily responsible for that sleep wake rhythm to your body, okay? I feel like some people don’t have those. I think some peoples are very poorly functioning. Yeah. The neural and hormonal activities that it, it generates, they regulate most bodily functions in approximately a 24 hour cycle.

Because we’re linked up to the solar system also. Right, so by working on the SCN, melatonin helps to synchronize the circadian rhythm by affecting both the phase, which is the timing of like your highs and lows in, in a 24 hour period, and the amplitude, which is the difference in those highs and lows. So like very awake, very asleep.

So how different those are and how far apart they are. Okay, I’m with you so far. Okay, yeah, I’m trying to make it make sense. Now, you do not need melatonin to sleep. Not essential, you can sleep without it, but you sleep best with high levels of melatonin. However, like sleep is complex, there are other factors that contribute to our ability to sleep and wake.

Wait, question. So is, is melatonin like the nudge that like nudges you towards sleep and then your brain does the rest of it? Your SCN clock takes over and it’s like, oh, thanks for the nudge, like, you’re right, you know, it’s kind of like the mom in the house where it’s like, honey, it’s eight o’clock, it’s time to get the kids in bed.

Yeah, yeah, it is kind of that where you can certainly sleep without it, but it, regulates the natural cycle for sleep. And your pineal gland, right, which makes melatonin, receives information as to when to make that based on light and dark that it gets from the retinas in your eyes, you know, so it like sees darkness and it’s like, hey, time to make melatonin.

People who are, who have a degree of blindness that does not allow them to detect light Often have to take supplemental melatonin because their pineal gland will not make it. Interesting. I have another thought. So, is this why potentially babies don’t make their own internal melatonin until about 10 weeks of age?

That’s part of it because their little eyeballs aren’t done yet. And then also I was thinking like when you said that our organs go to sleep, I’m like, yeah, if they didn’t, like we’d all poop ourselves in bed. And then I was like, babies poop themselves in bed, but not always. So like I’ve, I definitely saw with Marty and my other kids, but she’s the most recent kid I’ve had where she definitely pooped like all night long.

Until she hit like three months and now she poops when she wakes up in the morning, like when her organs wake back up. Yeah, it’s all connected. Yeah, especially digestion, right? Because digestion works on a 24 hour clock, right? Like we have a period of the day we eat, a period of the day we do not. Even if we have little breaks between meals, it’s like we’re not eating at 2am if we’re sleeping.

So, yeah, those cycles are very dependent on each other. Other, like, details on melatonin that we’re not going to go into as much. Melatonin also interacts a lot with our biologically female hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, and can really regulate or mess up your menstrual cycle. And melatonin from your pineal gland specifically, not supplemental melatonin, can protect against neurodegeneration.

Right, so progressive loss of function in your neurons. Things like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. How in the hell did they figure that out? Don’t know. Yep, don’t know. Okay. Just some fun facts I wanted to throw in there that I didn’t have time to read more about. Thank you pineal gland. Yeah, it’s called the pineal gland because it looks kind of like a little tiny pinecone.

Aww. Isn’t that funny? That actually is really funny. It’s cute! Aww, it’s the cutest gland I have. It’s not just named after some random white dude. Dr. Peniel. Okay, a big question that I had while I was reading this is what are normal melatonin levels, right? Short answer, we have no freaking idea. We can test for it.

It’s a hard test to get. It’s expensive. And so because we haven’t done a lot of research on that specific aspect, we do not have a good reference range for results for that lab test, right? So we do have some information. Wait, pause, pause. Let me just. So you said we don’t have a good reference range for how much melatonin we have in our body, yet you can go to Target and buy.

As many milligrams of melatonin as you want and just pack it in. Is that what we’re saying? We’re just, you are just hitting exactly the points that terrify me about melatonin. All righty. Go on. Yeah. So, you know, like I said before, we have some research as to what like levels we’re finding in people who do not supplement, right?

Like usually less than one milligram, usually a lot less. But we don’t have enough of a body of research to be like, here is the normal reference range for adult women and children and etc. And we’re also not, seemingly not making any effort to create that. Anyway, the other part of that is that it does appear, of course, that Melatonin levels occurring naturally are widely varied based on age and sex.

Sweet. Okay. Well, that, that sounds a little, that sounds a little like Is this an American thing, by the way? Is this like highly American? I would love to know. Listeners outside the U. S., let us know if anybody takes over the counter melatonin, or if it’s even available in your country. I mean, this sounds like a United States thing.

Who knows? The what kind of things, like medications and supplements you can get over the counter varies so much country to country. So, would love to know. We’re gonna take a quick break to thank a sponsor, and if you If you feel like this is not a thing in your country, send us an email right now and let me know.

Yeah, please. Milkminutepodcast@gmail. com and we will be right back.

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All right, welcome back everybody. I am on the edge of my seat and removing the melatonin gummies from my Amazon cart right now We’re fine at the O’Neill house, it just does take two hours to get everyone to bed, but It’s the same at my house though, it’s fine Okay, I want to talk more about babies now because you mentioned this earlier.

So let’s go into detail about babies and melatonin Yeah. Newborns do not make any melatonin as far as we are aware. Their pineal gland does not do that. Before they’re born, they receive melatonin through the placenta, and after birth they receive it through breast milk. A melatonin cycle naturally occurring through the newborn’s pineal gland appears when they’re about two to three months old.

On average, the amount of melatonin in human milk is about 35 percent of the maternal plasma level. That’s actually kind of a lot. It is a lot. Yeah, it’s actually pretty big. Usually when we talk about like medications and things we’re like, eh, 1%, 5%, 35. So that’s a lot. And it sounds like it needs to be, actually, because babies are not making their own melatonin.

Now, there was an interesting tidbit here that was like, post feeding milk levels appear more similar to maternal plasma levels than pre feeding levels, so the amount of melatonin is higher after a feed which would suggest, Wait, higher in the milk after a feed? Yes. When we test milk before and after a feed, the melatonin levels are higher after the feed, which suggests, So like, the back milk, Yeah, it suggests that melatonin is likely transported possibly into milk at night, was noted maybe directly during a feed, like through the cellular barrier during a feed, and is not, like, stored in the milk long term.

Oh, gotcha. So it’s more like, it acts more like a water soluble molecule, where it kind of just goes in and out. So if the baby’s actively sucking, it’s going to get in there, but if the milk is just sitting in your breast for, like, 24 hours, Hours and hours at a time, it could possibly go back into the bloodstream.

Right, that’s the theory. So, like, if you didn’t feed your baby all night, your morning milk would not be full of melatonin, right? Okay. Well, that makes a lot of sense. It does. Now, when you put it that way, you’re like, oh, duh. Duh, human bodies. Yeah. Yeah. Now, as far as kids go, nighttime melatonin levels reach a maximum at age one to three, which makes sense to me, because that’s when your children sleep like sacks of potatoes, and you could just like pick them up asleep and throw them in bed.

Or your three year old has a stomach virus and you hear them begin to throw up, they’re still sleeping, you lean them up in bed, they barf in a bowl, you wipe their mouth, and then you just lay them right back down. Lyra has finally made it to the sack of potatoes sleep age, where I like, consistently falls asleep in my bed and Ivan scoops her up and like drops her in hers and she stays asleep and thank the Lord.

Yeah. So that peak of melatonin is higher. That’s cool. Yes. After that, you know, it declines adult values tend to be lower. Can I ask another question? I don’t know if you saw this in your research, but the older you get Did they decrease more? So like, you know, old people that never sleep anymore, and they just can Yeah, mm hmm.

It does. I actually had copied it in here and then erased it all, because I was like, I don’t need to talk about that. It’s already an hour and a half long podcast, but yes. Yeah, so like my, my husband’s grandma that we featured in one of our podcast episodes literally gets up at two o’clock in the morning, makes candy, which is fudge.

She goes, I’m, I gotta make my candy, goes back to sleep, and then wakes up again at like 9 a. m. Yeah, my mother in law does that. If she’s coming to visit, she shows up at like 11 a. m. She lives seven hours away. She’s like, I just couldn’t sleep. And we’re like, ow. Okay. Okay. Anyway, so as far as we know, just baseline, the effect of orally administered melatonin on newborns is unknown.

We have no we don’t really know if that would cause bad effects or anything. Nothing has been noted. It’s not used very commonly orally for newborns. But! Because melatonin is found in such significant amounts in breast milk we have, of course, seen the suggestion, I’m sure you’ve seen it too, that you should, like, separate your night milk from your day milk and blah blah blah.

To that, the Milk Minute says, hell no. Yeah, that sounds like a lot of work. And considering we barely have enough research on this to make an opinion, I would say the, if you’re feeling that level of anxiety, you probably need to call us or someone else. Yeah. You know, but we do get that question a lot and there have been a few studies that show that it could add minutes to your baby’s sleep cycles.

If you differentiate night and day milk, which Other studies show it doesn’t do anything at all, so that doesn’t feel statistically significant enough for me to care. However, it’s not a bad thing if you want to do that but do check in about your anxiety. Awesome. Well, and also, you know, in the first three months, it’s normal for your kid to wake up in the middle of the night to eat.

And so after three months, they should be making their own melatonin, in which case it doesn’t matter anymore. And your milk is not going to have so much melatonin in it in the morning, like Maureen said previously, that you give them morning milk and then they pass out. That’s not going to happen. Yeah.

Yeah. Okay. Okay. So all of that to say, is it safe? To take melatonin while breastfeeding. We have no idea. Yeah we don’t have enough information to confidently say yes or no, but. Let’s just go into it. So, what we do know is that we have used doses higher than we would find in maternal breast milk even after supplementation, like directly on infants safely.

That has been done, not commonly, and it is unlikely that short term use of like normal supplemental doses of melatonin would affect a breastfed infant, but it I do want to note that it has a really long half-life in premature babies, okay? Through milk. Yeah, through anything, melatonin, just, so the half-life in term infants, adults, children is pretty short.

But for preemies, it’s like up to 15 hours. One study said 21 hours, so huge, long half-life, stays in their system a long time. So, If I’m going to say don’t use it with any particular group of babies, I would probably say stay away from it with preemies because it’s just not getting metabolized through their system.

And you know what? I bet those moms use melatonin more than others because they are having difficulty sleeping, probably recovering from traumatic births, going, grueling NICU schedules where you’re traveling back and forth, and then you have to lay down and sleep real quick, and yeah, oh. Now in all the research I could find in infant risk and LactMed, et cetera, there was only one documented case where they were fairly sure that an infant had an adverse effect from melatonin in breast milk, like supplemental melatonin.

The infant exhibited episodes of abnormal bleeding. from reduced platelet aggregation, which resolved pretty immediately after the mother stopped taking her melatonin. However, as we all know, so many people take melatonin. So, is it unsafe for a breastfed baby? Probably not. Is it unsafe for you as a mother?

Perhaps, okay? Let’s talk about that. So, you know, Problems with melatonin, some people make too little of it, hypomelatoninemia, and some people make too much, hypermelatoninemia, but the overwhelming majority of cases of hypermelatoninemia are caused by supplementation. Okay. What happens if you’re hyper?

You know everything and anything, because as we mentioned, this affects like every body system, right? So the most common stuff would be feeling really sleepy vomiting, maybe some breathing trouble drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, headache, confusion, nightmares, hypotension, tachycardia, and hypothermia.

However, we also have more extreme blood pressure changes, gastrointestinal problems issues with our hormonal cycles, menstrual irregularities, mood issues, because as we said, this affects basically everything on your body that runs on a 24 hour clock. Damn, so how does that not affect the 35%? You know?

You know, I don’t know because we just don’t have that information. Or maybe it does, but we just don’t know it because the baby can’t be like, my tummy hurts. Right, or it might be just because of how it moves into the milk, like we said it’s not just like sitting there stored in the milk, right? It’s like only going in at peak times when baby’s feeding, so it might be that that is a protective factor for baby when we’re supplementing with melatonin.

Interesting. Anyway, I don’t mean to scare the shit out of you, okay? Because I understand that this supplement is extremely helpful for some people, and, you know, getting enough sleep is lifesaving, right? Yeah, because sleep is medicine too, so it’s kind of like, eugh. It is, but what I do want to say is use responsibly, okay?

Studies show that supplemental melatonin can improve sleep in some cases, but not for everybody. And as far as supplementing goes, less is more. Less is more effective, okay? So, the best conducted studies that I found show that the most effective doses for adults are between 1 to 3 milligrams. Okay? Now, I once found out that most of my campers when I was a counselor that were teenagers were taking 30 milligrams a night.

Why? And I was like, are you all okay? We need to have a meeting right now because it’s just a gummy sold over the counter, right? And people don’t. I think that that can be dangerous, which makes sense. Why would something like that be dangerous? Why would something like that be sold? When they’re taking 30, what happened?

Did you just have like a bunch of 11 year olds passed out in a circle in a tent? Like, what’s that look like? You know, when I, I didn’t get into everybody’s medical details because I was a camp counselor, not their health care provider, but I was like, hey, here’s some of the possible side effects of this.

Also, it’s probably just not working that well for you if you’re taking so much, is what we have found. Learned so like take that information home to your parents and talk to them about it. Talk to your doctors A lot of them are also in like ADHD medication So they have been told to take it to counteract that for sleep, but never really told how much they should take Oh boy.

Yeah, cuz doctors, I mean also don’t know it’s not a prescription medication. It’s like new. It’s not I don’t know anyway, so Always with breastfeeding always we are always going to recommend the lowest Best effective dose of any supplement or medication, right? That is always going to be the safest route.

So if you need this, I would encourage you to find the lowest Effective dose for you. And effective means, I slept good, or I slept better. Right. Now, the other side of this that scares me, is that supplements are pretty darn unregulated, right? And unless there’s a very reliable third party audit of this, you just can’t guarantee that what’s in the labels, what’s inside of it.

There was one study that looked at 31 different brands of melatonin and the actual content ranged from 83 percent less than advertised all the way up to 478 percent more than advertised. What? So this is not like an FDA approved, it’s not like a multivitamin you’re taking over the counter. Even those are not FDA regulated.

None of this is. Wow. Yeah. And let’s just say, after all of this, melatonin is not the end all be all for sleep. Okay. So many other things impact the quality and the quantity of sleep you get, right? Caffeine, alcohol, medications, mood disorders, how comfortable your bed is, how noisy your sleep is, how much light you see during the day and while you’re sleeping.

Like, sleep hygiene is kind of what we call that stuff, like tidying up the things that you can change about your sleep is usually more important than whether or not you take melatonin. Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of situations like this in healthcare where I’m like, Oh honey, like, it’s not your sleep that’s the problem, it’s your life.

You know, like, we don’t need a magic pill to make you go night night. We need to, like, get you off of swing shifts. Like, we have to, this isn’t working for your body. Like, you’re falling apart. Yeah, and shift workers are notoriously hypomelatoninemic. Low melatonin. Yeah. You know, and so, I also understand that you might hear all this and say, Well, I can’t change any of that.

Awesome. Let’s start you on one milligram of melatonin and try that and see how it works because it might actually work better than 20 milligrams. It might be the most effective dosage out there and it’s such a small dosage that I would pretty confidently say that’s fine while breastfeeding. You know, it’s very close to the natural dosage and you know, it’s small enough too that you might not have an issue with dependency if you have to go on and off it.

Oh yeah, that was my other question. Do you get dependent on melatonin if you take it all the time? You know, studies were like yes and no and maybe, and it’s a hard thing to study, you know? Because, just because we don’t actually know, like, totally what our natural range of melatonin should be. Right, and there’s so many confounding variables with sleep quality.

Exactly. Yeah, it’s a really difficult thing to control for in a study, so I didn’t feel like any of the results I saw that mentioned that were particularly reliable. Gotcha. All right. Well, this has been very enlightening. And don’t feel bad if you’ve done the melatonin gummies. I have also not only taken some of my children’s dose melatonin gummies, but I’ve given them to my children.

I’ve given them to them, like, on car trips where I’m like, night, night. And guess what? Sometimes it doesn’t work. Yeah. Unfortunately, my son and I both get horrible nightmares with melatonin. So, like, before I knew anything about it, I was like, this shit sucks. It sucks. We’re never taking it again. Yeah. I had the same experience in college after somebody broke into my house.

It was a long story, but I had PTSD after that and could not sleep. So someone was like, just take melatonin. And I was like, okay. And so I took melatonin before bed. And so I had nightmares that people were breaking into my house and trying to kill me. And they’re like hard to wake up from. Yes. I woke up hallucinating, talking to my lamp.

All the time thinking my lamp was my dad, and I would be like, Dad, help me. And then I’d be like, lamp again. What the fuck? God. All right. Well, let’s take a break. And when we get back, we’re going to give an award to one of our fabulous listeners.

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Infantis that we need to digest human milk oligosaccharides. That’s actually 15 percent of breast milk that your baby will then be able to utilize. Whereas if you don’t have the bacteria, there’s so much extra in the gut, which is why American babies poop like 10 times a day more than babies that are colonized with B.

Infantis. I have personally seen this probiotic help my baby and the babies of many of my clients and frankly, if we’re dealing with any of these symptoms, it is the first thing I go to. And the best part is it’s not like any other probiotic that we would take when we’re sick or taking antibiotics where you take it Every time you go through antibiotics for the rest of your life.

If you give your baby Evivo in the first hundred days of life, it actually colonizes in their gut and becomes a part of their immune system, which then they can pass to the next generation. And this is how we make change, y’all. Evivo is amazing because it’s going to safeguard your baby’s health today and give you peace of mind in the future.

Check out Evivo Probiotics through the link in our show notes. And enter code MILKMINUTE for 10 off.

Alright, welcome back everybody. I hope that you enjoyed that. Feel good about the information you got and not scared because scared was not the goal But also, you know, it is what it is. Anyway, let’s move on to an award in the alcove All right This award goes to one of our wonderful patrons named Rita and Rita had a tough start with her baby Because they had a NICU stay the first few days of life.

They tried all the things She says and they never got over the bottle preference. That is so tough. That is like you Everything is stacked against you at that point, so I totally get it. Rita says she continued to exclusively pump while grieving her dream of breastfeeding directly, and she says to say this was difficult is an understatement.

But then, quite unexpectedly, at over six months old, the little one started asking to feed directly from the breast. She says, we started slowly, and I learned to listen, and since then we’ve been enjoying our snugly bonding moments together so much. Oh. It’s been a learning curve for us all. And I couldn’t be more grateful for the wisdom I’ve gained through professional support locally and through listening to the Milk Minute podcast.

I’m grateful for my partner who supported the ups and downs, helped with washing the pump parts and bottles, and is now cheering us on while happily sleeping through the night. Since baby can just sneak in next to me for night feeds. Ah, this is what we dreamed of. We are curious and open about where our breastfeeding journey will take us next.

I love that. I love the conclusion of that, of feeling curious and open. And that’s such like an inspiring award to read for folks who are stuck in the exclusive pumping cycle, you know? So Rita, we are going to give you the Burpee Award for surviving all of the ups and downs. Burpees, that’s what exclusive pumping feels like.

Honestly, I’d rather do some burpees. Okay. And we have an Apple review to read, which is great. This is from L Y K B a postpartum nurse. IBCLC. Five stars. This podcast is a dream. Honestly, I cannot believe this podcast is free. You and me both. These two amazing ladies share amazing skills, knowledge, opinions, and facts.

It is such an easy listen, and they are so funny. I recommend this podcast to healthcare workers, mothers, fathers, and anyone who wants to open their minds to the world of breastfeeding and all it entails. This podcast, along with Heather and Maureen, have been a godsend. Well, thank you so much. For the awesome review, so sweet.

Yes, thank you. I want to say it’s likey bee. I really couldn’t, I couldn’t pronounce, I didn’t know. It’s all good. Initials, a name, if that’s your name, it’s lovely dear. Well, I’m reading this outline here and Maureen just wrote after that, bye bitches. I was really feeling just done with the Melatonin after this.

Okay. Good God. Bye, I guess. Bye. Well, thank you for listening to another episode of the Milk Minute Podcast. The way we change this big system that is not set up to support us as breastfeeding parents is by educating ourselves, our friends, sometimes our health care providers. And if you found value in this episode we produced for you today, please hop over to our Patreon at Patreon.

com slash MilkMinutePodcast And, Purchase a tier that feels good to you, and, or a free one, and you can see what we have going on behind the scenes, you can help support this project, which is free, and, yeah. Alright, now I can say it. Bye, bitches. Bye.


Pharmacokinetics of melatonin in preterm infants – PubMed (

Melatonin – InfantRisk Forums

Melatonin – Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMedĀ®) – NCBI Bookshelf (

Melatonin, the Hormone of Darkness: From Sleep Promotion to Ebola Treatment – PMC (

Melatonin: What It Is & Function (

Pineal Gland: What It Is, Function & Disorders (


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