When Do Babies Make Tears?

Sadness, joy, and the colors of emotions can be seen in a tear, yet babies make tears later in life.

It may seem strange to see a baby crying with such emotion yet no tears in sight. Do not fret about this; it is quite normal, but there is more to this phenomenon than meets the eye.

Why Don’t Babies Make Tears?

Actually, babies do make tears to protect their eyes but nothing else. No matter how heartbroken a baby sounds, you are not going to see a tear drop during the first few weeks or months of life.

Your newborn has working tear ducts and has the necessary glands to make tears, but the moisture produced is there to lubricate the eyes and keep them clean. Remember, your eyeballs must be protected from constant blinking.

When Will Babies Make Tears?

Okay, so now you know why you don’t see tear drops, but babies will make tears soon enough. The question is how long will it take for your baby’s glands and ducts to develop to create an overabundance of moisture that could promote a good cry.

Most babies produce tears in about two weeks, but some babies could take anywhere between a month to three months to develop enough tears. It may seem strange, but this is pretty standard for babies, so be patient because those tears are coming.

Why are Tears so Important?

You already know one reason grown ups and babies make tears, which deals with lubricating and cleaning the eyes, but tears are a lot more interesting than you might imagine.

First thing you may want to know about your baby’s tears is they are made of more than just water and salt. The following are some ingredients in tears:

  • Electrolytes
  • Proteins
  • Lipids
  • Mucins
  • Water

The salt people think is inside tears is actually a combination of electrolytes, like sodium, potassium, chloride, bicorbonate, magnesium, and calcium. Some people may be wondering where all these ingredients come from and be surprised to learn that your lacrimal glands extract these and many other ingredients from blood.

The complexity of tears should show you that their role is a lot bigger than some people might have thought. This is probably one reason your baby develops lacrimal glands quickly.

Some of the ingredients in tears form mucus, which is how the tear actually binds to your baby’s eyes. All the vitamins and proteins inside a tear are there to nourish the eye, keeping it working properly.

The lipid or oil component may seem strange, but it is there for a good reason. This oil helps prevent the moisture from evaporating quickly, which could happen and cause a person to experience dry eyes.

Some of the ingredients in tears are also naturally antibiotic, which is great for your baby as he or she will be able to fight off bacteria or viruses. You know not to fret; as, mentioned earlier, your baby is producing enough tears to protect the eyes, even if it is not enough to cry.

Tears are produced for other reasons as well; for example, some tears are called reflex tears and are there to help clean irritated eyes, like when dust gets in your eyes. Dust is an issue little babies won’t be able to address as easily as grown ups, so be sure to prevent dust from getting into the eyes.

Babies and grown ups also produce emotional tears, which are still a bit of a mystery though some scientists believe these types of tears contain hormones like prolactin to help regulate the body.

As hard as it may be to see babies cry, tears are there for many reasons.

Why Would Babies not Make Tears?

You know why it is important for babies to make tears, but there are a number of issues that could make it hard for your baby to cry.

The following could make it hard for babies to make tears:

Conjunctivitis

Some babies develop this condition, and it may seem pretty scary. Your baby may begin to have noticeable redness around the eyes due to an infection or severe irritation.

A baby may even have to deal with swollen eyes if the issue is not addressed promptly. Most of the time, this problem is linked to clogged tear ducts, so be sure to have your pediatrician examine your baby if you believe your child may have conjunctivitis.

Blocked Ducts

Blocked tear ducts is a real problem that some babies face. This issue is sometimes referred to as dacryostenosis, which basically happens when a baby’s tears cannot leave the ducts.

The ducts could get clogged for various reasons, making it difficult for babies to make tears. It should also be pointed out that this condition could lead to an infection if it is not treated soon, so make sure you talk to your pediatrician as soon as you can.

Lazy Eyes

The lazy eye condition affects babies across the world. It is one of those well-known eye conditions since it has been used in films and television often. You may not think this is a serious problem, but the reality is lazy eyes could hurt a baby’s eyes.

His or her vision may not be as flawless as it might have been without this condition, so make sure you talk to your pediatrician. Keep in mind that your pediatrician is probably going to use either eye drops or an eye patch to try to improve your child’s weaker eye.

Crossed Eyes

Another condition that could make it hard for babies to make tears is strasbismus. This particular condition is linked to having little eye muscle control, which is how some people end up having crossed eyes.

This is another condition that is going to make it hard for your child to see normally. Sometimes, this issue solves itself, but other times you are going to need a little help. It is important that you work with your pediatrician to try to find a solution for your child.

Cataract

Cataracts is something you normally hear affecting older people, but babies can be affected by it just the same. Sometimes, the issue can be detected at birth, but other times it develops later on.

Your baby is going to have trouble developing tears if he or she has this condition. Regrettably, the way to properly deal with this problem is to have your baby go through surgery. You can talk to your pediatrician more about what this surgery entails so you know every detail.

Retinoblastoma

No parent is going to want to read about this condition and, thankfully, it is rare, but some babies develop this rare cancer. A baby who is suffering from this condition is probably going to feel some pain and develop redness around the eyes. You are probably going to see a pink or white hue if light is shined on your baby’s eyes.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is another condition that is normally associated with older people, yet babies may also develop it or be born with it. Your doctor is probably going to be able to catch this issue and help you find a solution, but it might still be a good idea for you to know a little about it.

A baby with glaucoma is going to have light sensitivity or may appear to have cloudy eyes. Of course, your baby is going to have a hard time making tears as well. This issue is quite serious and could lead to total vision loss, so make sure you talk to your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.

Conclusion

Hopefully, your baby does not develop any of these issues that would make it hard for babies to make tears. Most of these issues are relatively rare, so you may not have to worry about them, so do not let these potential problems worry you too much.

Yes, a parent’s natural love is going to make it hard not to worry, but do your best. A good way to keep cool is to monitor this stage of your baby’s development along with all the other things you and your pediatrician have to keep an eye on.