If My Baby Is Born With Brown Eyes, Does That Mean That’s Their Eye Color?

Baby’s Eye Color

The color of babies’ irises actually depends on melanin, a protein secreted by special cells called melanocytes that also give your baby’s skin its color. Babies whose heritage is dark-skinned are usually born with brown eyes, whereas Caucasian newborns tend to be born with blue or gray eyes.

Since melanocytes respond to light, at birth a baby may have eyes that appear gray or blue mostly due to the lack of pigment and because he’s been in a dark womb up until now. As he’s exposed to more light, over time (even several years) his eye color can change.

It takes about a year for the melanocytes to finish their job and for the final color to come in. While the rate of color change does slow down after 6 months, the color can still change after this time. Sometimes the color change can continue for several years before the eye color becomes permanent.

What Color Will My Baby’s Eyes Be?

Iris color, just like hair and skin color, depends on a protein called melanin. We have specialized cells in our bodies called melanocytes whose job it is to go around secreting melanin. Over time, if melanocytes only secrete a little melanin, your baby will have blue eyes. If they secrete a bit more, his eyes will look green or hazel. When melanocytes get really busy, eyes look brown (the most common eye color), and in some cases they may appear very dark indeed.

Because it takes about a year for melanocytes to finish their work it can be a dicey business calling eye color before the baby’s first birthday. The color change does slow down some after the first 6 months of life, but there can be plenty of change left at that point.

Eye color is a genetic property, but it’s not quite as cut-and-dried as you might have learned in biology class.

  • Two blue-eyed parents are very likely to have a blue-eyed child, but it won’t happen every single time.
  • Two brown-eyed parents are likely (but not guaranteed) to have a child with brown eyes.
  • If you notice one of the grandparents has blue eyes, the chances of having a blue-eyed baby go up a bit.
  • If one parent has brown eyes and the other has blue eyes, odds are about even on eye color.
  • If your child has one brown eye and one blue eye, bring it to your doctor’s attention; he probably has a rare genetic condition called Waardenburg syndrome.

“Typically, a baby’s eyes can change color during the first year of life,” says Benjamin Bert, MD, an ophthalmologist at Memorial Care Orange Coast Medical Center.

However, Daniel Ganjian, MD, a pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, says the most significant changes in color occur between 3 and 6 months.

But the hue you see at 6 months may still be a work in progress — which means you should wait a few months (or more) before filling in the eye color section of the baby book.

Although you can’t predict the exact age your baby’s eye color will be permanent, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) says most babies have the eye color that will last their lifetime by the time they’re about 9 months old. However, some can take up to 3 years to settle into a permanent eye color.

And when it comes to the color your baby’s eyes will take on, the odds are stacked in favor of brown eyes. The AAO says that half of all people in the United States have brown eyes.

More specifically, a 2016 studyTrusted Source involving 192 newborns found that the birth prevalence of iris color was:

  • 63% brown
  • 20.8% blue
  • 5.7% green/hazel
  • 9.9% indeterminate
  • 0.5% partial heterochromia (a variation in coloration)

The researchers also found that there were significantly more white/Caucasian infants with blue eyes and more Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and Black/African American infants with brown eyes.

Now that you have a better understanding of when your baby’s eyes may change color (and become permanent), you might be wondering what’s going on behind the scenes to make this transformation occur.

When Will Your Baby’s Eyes Change Color?

You may have heard that if your newborn has blue or light gray eyes, there’s a chance they could become brown (or go green) as she gets older. But if and even when your baby will experience eye color changes is anyone’s guess.

What’s responsible for this magical transformation in your little one’s eye color? The answer depends on the amount of melanin in the iris (the colored part of the eye) — which, in turn, is determined by the genes your baby has inherited from each parent — as well as other factors.

When does a baby’s eye color change?

The most dramatic eye color changes will probably occur when your child is between the ages of 3 and 6 months old. By that point, the iris has stashed enough pigment so you’ll be able to better predict what the final hue will be.

But even so, your baby’s eye color may still hold some surprises. Your baby’s eye color may continue going through a number of changes due to pigmentation of the iris until baby’s first birthday, and you may still notice subtle eye color changes (green eyes slowly turning hazel, say, or hazel ones deepening into brown) until she’s 3 years old. Just don’t expect brown eyes to revert to blue — dark eyes tend to stay dark for most babies.

Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) infants are more likely to be born with dark, usually brown, eyes, though the shade may change slightly during the first year. Caucasian babies are more likely to be born with dark blue or slate-gray eyes that may change several times before the first birthday.

When Do Babies’ Eyes Change Color?

Your child’s newborn eye color may be blue, but that doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily stay that way. “Babies’ eyes tend to change color sometime between 6 and 12 months, but it can take as long as three years until you see the true color of what their eyes are going to be,” says Barbara Cohlan, MD, a neonatologist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

As a general rule of thumb, baby eye color tends to get darker if it changes. So if your child has blue eyes, they may turn to green, hazel or brown. “The changes are always going to go from light to dark, not the reverse,” Jaafar says. “If you have brown early on, they’re not going to become blue. ” What’s more, about 10 percent of babies will continue to experience changes in eye color (albeit subtle) until they’re adults.

Why Does a Baby’s Eye Color Change?

For nine months, your growing baby was away from the biggest melanocyte stimulant that exists—the sun! Since there’s definitely no skylight in mom’s womb for the baby to catch some rays, there’s a chance that the melanocytes have been dormant.

Over time, as your baby basks in light, their melanocytes go into normal production mode. As the melanocytes begin producing melanosomes which create the melanin, your child’s true, beautiful eye color will shine through. And while they may have started with blue eyes, that could mean a change to green, hazel, or brown eyes.

Parents can expect the most dramatic eye color changes in their baby within the ages of 6 and 9 months old. At this point, there’s a better chance of predicting the final color of your baby’s eyes. According to Healthline, babies around the age of 12 months will have their permanent eye color, but don’t be surprised if you’re still noticing subtle hue changes. Baby eye color may still change until 3 years old!

You may notice your baby’s green eyes change to hazel or blue eyes turn green. However, it’s safe to say that if your baby is already showing brown eyes they won’t change to blue– dark eyes tend to stay dark.

View Sources

Baby’s Eye Color

https://www.pampers.com/en-us/baby/development/article/when-do-babies-eyes-change-color

 What Color Will My Baby’s Eyes Be?

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Newborn-Eye-Color.aspx

“Typically, a baby’s eyes can change color during the first year of life,”

https://www.healthline.com/health/baby/when-do-babies-eyes-change-color#timing

When Will Your Baby’s Eyes Change Color?

https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/ask-heidi/baby-eye-color.aspx

When Do Babies’ Eyes Change Color?

https://www.thebump.com/a/will-babys-eye-color-change

Why Does a Baby’s Eye Color Change?

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10n8RG-PWywcKYMx9IBINpQlH40P3CcUrIQoxlvvQyJw/edit#gid=184677235