Why your baby doesn't cry real tears

The reason newborns don't cry like older babies

October 29 2018

Why don't newborn babies cry real tears?

Have you ever wondered why your newborn baby might be screaming at the top of their lungs, but no tears are coming out of their crying eyes?

The reason is incredibly simple - their tear ducts haven't developed yet.

Tear ducts don’t actually develop until babies are two months old, although some can develop from two weeks onwards - both are entirely normal.

'While newborns are born with working tear ducts and glands, they only produce enough tears to lubricate and protect the eye, which means there's no excess to roll down your baby's cheeks when they cry', says Dr. Jennifer Shu, co-author of Heading Home With Your Newborn. 

'You'll start to see teardrops when your baby is between one and three months old,' says Dr Shu. 'As his glands develop, they'll produce more and more.'

But if you notice that there are no tears coming out of your baby's eyes, or there are too many and the inner corner of his eye is red, swollen, or there is pus, the tear duct may be blocked and infected.





According to the NHS this means that “tears cannot drain away as they should, so tears flow out of the eye and run down the cheeks. Either one or both ducts can be affected."

"Tear production does not start immediately after birth, so symptoms may not be noticeable for a week or two.

"The main symptom is watering eyes, with tears pooling in the corner of the eye, spilling over onto the cheeks. This occurs even when a baby is not crying. Symptoms may get worse when the baby has a cold or during cold weather, as tear production increases.

"Sometimes, a baby’s eyes may look sticky or crusted when they wake. Occasionally, the eye may look a bit pink, which may be a sign of conjunctivitis or inflammation of the eye covering."

If you're concerned about your baby's tar ducts, seek medical attention as soon as you can.

For tips on how to help calm your crying baby, try here

Faye James is a regular contributor at New Idea, WHO and Practical Parenting and works across health, beauty, celebrity and royal content. She has over 20 years of experience spanning across the UK, Middle East and Australia.