It’s one of the more bewildering baby behaviors you’ll see: Your baby
scrunches up her tiny features and wails deafeningly — but not a tear
trickles down her cheek.
Newborns don’t shed tears because their tear ducts haven’t fully
formed. But after about a month (once the ducts have had a chance to
develop), why do babies sometimes cry with tears and sometimes without?
In general, tears indicate that your baby’s feeling especially
frustrated or is in some kind of pain, explains Jennifer Shu, M.D.,
coauthor of Heading Home With Your Newborn.
“Babies cry for many reasons — they’re tired, uncomfortable, bored,
hungry. It’s their only way to communicate their myriad emotions,” says
Dr. Shu. So no tears probably means your baby’s trying to tell you
something, but she’s most likely not in distress.
In some cases, tearless crying can be a sign of something more
serious, like dehydration. If you notice that your baby’s perpetually
dry-eyed, make sure she’s drinking enough fluids. If the problem
persists, her tear ducts may be blocked, a condition that should clear
up on its own within a few months; your pediatrician may recommend you
help it along by gently massaging the inside corners of your baby’s