What is melatonin and when does a baby’s brain start producing it?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland portion of our brains. It helps to regulate our 24-hour sleep-wake cycles, and can be thought of as one of the ‘oils’ that helps the gears of our internal body ‘clock’ run properly. Babies who were born full-term typically do not yet have a developed ‘clock’ (also known as a circadian rhythm) before 3-4 months old—and this is when a baby’s brain starts producing melatonin. If your baby was born prematurely, she might not start this process until a couple of months later (at ~5-6 months old), depending on how early she was born.About Dr. Stephanie Jackson