When Do Babies Get Tears?

When Do Babies Get Tears?

We’re all pretty familiar by now with when babies have their first cry.

(Usually, when they’re making their debut to the world and showing off their lung power 😅).

But, when do babies first cry with tears?

Most assume that the tears are all part and parcel of ‘Baby’s Big First Cry’ performance in the hospital.

But, actually, that’s not often the case…

We’ll explore the when, the how, and the why babies’ tears take slightly longer to form in this guide. 👇

In this article: 📝

  • So, when do babies start crying tears? 💧
  • What does crying without tears mean?
  • Can a lack of tears be due to serious eye conditions?
  • Why doesn’t my 7-month-old have tears?
  • Why doesn’t my 1-year-old have tears?

So, when do babies start crying tears? 💧

Well, it’s a bit of a gray area…

But, it’s thought they won’t appear until the first couple of months of your little babe’s life.

Tears usually show up to the party somewhere between 1 month to 3 months of age.

At around 2 weeks old, your baby’s lacrimal glands (the tear-makers of the eyes) will start their production of tears — but, you still might not notice much of a change for a while.

(It’s basically just enough tears to keep their eyes moist.)

And, it’s actually uncommon for newborns to cry tears right away, as their lacrimal glands wouldn’t have had much chance to develop yet.

Newborns under 2 weeks may appear watery-eyed when they’re crying, but actually, it’s more likely to be an infection, blocked tear ducts, or bacteria than it is to be real tears.

🔍 Get Clued Up: Can Babies Cry In The Womb? 🤔

When should I be concerned about my baby not having tears?

If your little babe hasn’t started producing tears after they’re about 3 months old, it’s probably best to get them checked over by your doctor.

It may be that they’re a little late to the game, and their tears will turn up any time now.

Also, if they were born prematurely, this could mean it might take them a little longer to start producing tears than babies delivered at full-term.

But, it could also be something a bit more serious (more on this below 👇), so it would be best for the doc to be able to rule that out early on.

What does crying without tears mean?

So, you’ve spotted your little one crying, but there are no signs of tears… what could it mean? 🤔

Age 👶

In some cases, it doesn’t actually mean anything.

Just that your baby is yet to grow into their tears!

You’ll likely see tears starting to develop in the first couple of months after they’re born.

Dehydration 🍼

But, if you’ve seen your baby cry with tears before and those tears have mysteriously disappeared, it could be down to dehydration.

So, make sure they’re all stocked up on plenty of fluids!

(Top tip: signs of dehydration include fewer wet diapers, lethargy, fussiness, and poor feeding).

Blocked tear ducts 👁️

Crying without tears could also be a symptom of blocked tear ducts.

This can happen in babies where the tear-duct system is not fully developed.

You’d be able to tell if tear ducts are to blame here if your baby’s eyes are red, dry, and irritated.

Something more serious 👩‍⚕️

But, in some cases, it could be a symptom of a more serious problem.

This study looks at the link between a “lack of tears” (also known in medical terms as ‘alacrima’), and Triple A syndrome.

Triple A syndrome is a disease where the patient could experience fatigue, a loss of appetite, weight loss, low blood pressure, and a darkening of the skin.

One of the other symptoms is that the patient is unable to produce any tears — known as alacrima.

So, the study suggests there could be a link between not crying tears, and Triple A syndrome.

But, this condition is rare, so if your newborn isn’t crying tears yet, your doctor wouldn’t necessarily jump to this conclusion immediately.

Can a lack of tears be due to serious eye conditions?

You may have heard some rumors around a lack of tears pointing to more serious eye conditions, such as lazy eye, glaucoma, or cataracts.

But, that’s not the case. 🤷‍♀️

There’s actually no hard evidence to suggest that dry eye is a symptom of these conditions.

Why doesn’t my 7-month-old have tears?

This could be a blocked tear duct, as mentioned above, as this could happen whilst babies’ eyes are still developing.

Or, alternatively, they might just be testing your limits for their temper tantrums. 🙃

Sometimes, babies wail or scream to get attention, or if something doesn’t go their way.

This might mean you see ‘crocodile tears’ appear, which basically means all the talk, no action. 💁‍♀️

But, if your baby isn’t crying tears every time they’re upset, you should get them checked over by the doc to make sure it’s nothing more serious.

Why doesn’t my 1-year-old have tears?

Again, ‘crocodile tears’ may be coming into effect here…

(Especially now they’re a bit more grown and probably know exactly how to push your limits. 🫠)

But, dehydration and blocked tear ducts could be at play, or something more serious.

So head on down to the docs to get them checked over, just to make sure everything is A-OK.

Want to chat to mamas in the same boat as you, and get advice from women who just get it?

Join the conversation today. 🥜


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