Has anyone used this on a really young child and how did it work out?
A friend of mine recently suggested I ask my pediatrician about melatonin for my almost two year old son. My pediatrician told me he's recommend a dosage if I felt I really needed it for my little one, and he also suggested Benadryl. I like that melatonin is something more natural than Benadryl, but I'm also weary of giving a small child anything to get him to sleep (and yes, I have been guilty of Benadryl on rare occasions, because he seriously hardly ever sleeps and I'm running on empty.
My older son has Asperger's and two of my sister's four children have sensory processing disorders. I am seeing similarities with my little one's behavior to my older son and my niece and nephew. I've also been a preschool/toddler teacher for 21 years, so I'm familiar with what's "normal" behavior for young children.
We have a bedtime routine, we've tried different lighting, different darkness, different bedtime situations, etc. He nurses to sleep, and then goes back to sleep with me sitting next to him during the rest of the night- he knows "milky's sleeping" until it gets light out- that's not the problem. If I do not go in, or if I go in after his crying hits a certain "pitch", he is inconsolable for up to two hours after waking.
This is how a normal night goes with my son. He'll be two next month and his sleep habits are getting worse. He can usually get back to sleep when I come in and sit next to him, but he doesn't sleep WELL. He very often will wake up hearing the creak of the door opening or my footprint on his floor, trying to sneak out of his room. He sleeps slightly better in my bed, but he's a violent sleeper, so I get no sleep when he's in my bed- I'm likely to get kicked in the face or something. I'm so tired.
Woke from 9:20-9:35, I sat on the bottom of his bed.
Woke from 12:15-12:55, I sat next to his bed.
Woke from 1:45-1:50, I sat next to his bed.
Woke from 3:00-3:05, I sat next to his bed.
Woke from 4:45-5:00, I sat on the bottom of his bed.
Woke from 7:10-7:15, light out, so I brought him in my bed, he nursed for a few minutes and fell back to sleep.
Woke for the day at 8:20.
(And takes maybe a 45 minute nap during the day, even though sometimes he's acting so tired he can barely stand up, and I feel the same way.)
I have to go back to work within two months and I don't know how I'm gonna do it with no sleep.
Thoughts on melatonin for a two year old?
We were able to get by without it until DS1 turned 3. He is ASD and has minimal sleep needs. We find him wandering around just about very single night and he is commonly up for hours in the middle of the night. The melatonin worked great for about 4 months and now he is back to being up for hours. He takes 1mg (smaller doses did nothing), and I think I need to bump it up for a trial. It's been weeks and weeks since he even had one halfway decent night of sleep and I am noticing a lot more behavior issues.
My biggest worry would be that melatonin is habit forming and you grow a tolerance to it quickly and have to up your dose. Have you read The No-Cry Sleep Solution? I know it doesn't work for everyone but I know some people have good results with it.
Newly single, chronically sleep deprived mama to my little wild thang , born 11/17/12
I would take him in bed even if my sleep would suffer rather than give him melatonin (or anything else). Doctors often recommend something, just to discover in 10-20 years that the same thing is actually quite harmful.
My dk can't sleep by themselves until they're 4 y/o or so (I also went through the pattern you describe with your ds a couple of times at different ages, and I gave up).
My oldest is asd and has been on melatonin for 2 years. At first it was .5 mg and over 6 months he needed more until we hit 3 mg. This seems to be the magic dose, he's been on 3 mg over a year. He does still sometimes need a bonus dose around midnight, about .75-1.5 mg.
My youngest is 2 and has spd. He sleeps fine though we use melatonin on rare occasions (.25-.5 mg).
Single, student mama to 3 boys
I've read The No-Cry Sleep Solution, but haven't found it to work with my son. I mean, it helps, a bit, but barely.
No experience with melatonin but I have a quick suggestion that made a difference to DD staying asleep (21 months) and me sneaking out. Forgive me if you already use this but I didn't see it mentioned in your post: white noise. We have a fan in DD's room and keep it running (not pointed at her) all the time she is sleeping. It masks other household noises and lets DH and I use the old creaky stairs right next to her room and the bathroom a few feet away without her waking. we've been using it for almost a year because at 10 months we hit a major sleeping hurdle. If you aren't using white noise yet, it's an easy thing to try but make sure you give it a few weeks so it becomes part of the routine and has a chance to work.
We use white noise, and like The No-Cry Sleep Solution, it helps a bit, but only to the point where he'll sleep 1 1/2-2 hours as opposed to 45 minutes to an hour.
I haven't heard of salt intake. I'll try that asap.
Have you tried letting him sleep on a mat, sleeping bag, etc on the floor of your bedroom, at least when you have already gone to bed? That has made a world of difference for us with our 2.5 yo DD. She starts out the night in her bedroom, and comes to sleep in her "nest" on our bedroom floor anyte from 10:30 to midnight ish and onward. She's also too violent a sleeper to share our bed.
He has a twin bed in his room and a toddler bed in my room and I have a double bed that I sleep in. He won't even sit on the toddler bed during the day, he insists "Mama bed" and it's actually harder to get him to sleep on the toddler bed in my room than the twin bed in his room. We both have very small bedrooms, so experimenting with the bed setups is not an option.
You may have already tried these things but I thought I'd just put it out there...I was also going to suggest magnesium as it is often connected to sleep. Catnip as a tea if he will drink it or in his bath. Bananas and honey can also aid in sleep ( I believe oatmeal also). We have found a 1/2 tsp. of honey before bed to really help. For us it seems that often times once the cycle is broken we don't have to give it every night.
Becky- Wife to DH, Mama to "Nani" (July '08) "Coco" (July '10) and expecting one very wiggly baby boy in May 2013!
I'm so sorry this is happening, I know that sleep deprivation is rough on mama and on baby. I've been there.
But I would caution pretty strongly against melatonin. The production of this particular hormone is based on a negative feedback system - meaning that the presence of the hormone itself creates a chain reaction that prevents the body from making more. Eventually, the pineal gland can begin to atrophy and lose it's ability to manufacture melatonin. If it were me, and my ped ok'd it, I'd feel safer with the benadryl, which may be less natural, but doesn't have the same long term implications.
I wish I had other, useful advice but we're still in the thick of this as well. DD has just never slept well, and never slept enough. Our next stop is to an occupational therapist to evaluate for sensory issues. Even if she doesn't have SPD, we're hoping the OT will have some good tips on how to get her to sleep more gently.
L, student nurse and married to A, my union man. Happy parents to little S!