Gazing into the eyes of your newborn – there’s nothing quite like it. Whenever they’re open that is! But if you get the opportunity, you might have noticed that mysterious feature of baby eyes: baby eye color can change – and it usually gets darker.
So, if it’s always changing, when can you tell a baby’s eye color? And what color will gray baby eyes turn, for example? Well, we’ve got some answers.
But of course, not every baby is the same. That would be too easy! What may be true for many babies may not be true for yours. So, get prepared to be surprised!
What determines baby eye color?
When we talk about eye color, we’re really talking about the color of the iris. Forget the pupil – that will always be black. And the whites, meanwhile, will usually stay white.
From baby to baby, from human to human, however, the iris changes color. That’s the muscle around the pupil that controls the amount of light that gets in. And its color depends on a thing called melanin.
This melanin is the protein that’s famously responsible for your hair and skin color. But it can create cooler colors in your eyes. Those blues and greens are made by the same stuff that changes the color of your hair.
What color will my baby’s eyes be?
Melanin is a matter of genes. And that means baby eye color is, too.
So, if you and your partner have dark brown eyes (the most common baby eye color), expect your baby will have them too. That means they have lots of melanin. If you both have blue eyes, there is a much greater chance that your baby’s eyes will stay that color when they’re all grown up (and that means very little melanin). The greens and light browns happen somewhere in the middle.
Yet, genes are not that simple. If there are blue eyes anywhere in your family, for example, a blue-eyed baby suddenly becomes much more likely.
This means predicting your child’s eye color isn’t always easy. While your genes can give you a pretty good guess, an accurate baby eye color calculator is just a bit too much to ask. Maybe one day!
When can you tell a baby’s eye color?
However, we know that newborn eye color is not necessarily the color they’ll have as they grow. If many babies’ eyes are gray or light blue at birth, this can change.
And when do babies’ eyes change color? It’s best not to expect them to stabilize fully until around their first birthday. This is because the cells that produce melanin keep on working for at least six months after birth.
A little patience is in order then. Things can keep changing anywhere up to a year – and in some cases even beyond. In very rare instances, eye color can keep getting darker up until the age of five or six.
And gray baby eyes – what color will they turn? The reality is that they can become any eye color at all!
Can baby eyes get lighter?
Generally, baby eyes tend to darken as they get older. That’s down to that melanin again.
It is possible for baby eyes to get lighter, mind you. However, if this is happening – or if your baby’s eyes are different colors – you might want to talk to a doctor. With very very light eyes, there is a slight chance your baby may have problems with vision later in life.
When it comes to your baby’s eye color, for many mamas the best thing might be just to wait and see!