Baby Crying Without Tears – Is This Normal?

Newborn or very young, many parents wonder if their baby is really producing tears, because the babies certainly cry, but not necessarily with visible tears. Although babies do produce tears right from the start, the quantities are so small in the beginning that they go unnoticed. Preterm babies are known to have reduced basal tear secretion while babies born full-term do have tear secretion similar to that in adults; just not as apparent and abundant. It can actually take several months before a baby cries with “real” tears. The way the tear ducts work, if functioning properly, is the moisture is produced in the upper outer gland of the eye, flows over the eye, and is then drained into a duct in the nose. When someone cries, it might be that the overflow of tears run down the cheeks instead. Some babies have such well-functioning tear ducts that they can cry without tears. Others have plugged tear ducts in the nose and will produce tears even without crying. (Common in newborn babies.) It is very uncommon for babies to not produce any tears at all. Have a close look at your baby’s eyes the next time he cries. If there is no excess moisture at all, then contact a pediatrician to check his eyes. However, unless your baby has other problems with his/her eyes for example if they are very red, dry, or seem to be infected, this is usually not something to worry about. (But you can still talk to the doctor at the next health checkup to make sure everything is fine.)