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On Call: Tear-free Babies

Q. My 7-month-old has never shed a tear while crying! What's going on?

Most likely, nothing. Until they're 8 months old, many babies don't shed tears because their tear ducts aren't fully developed yet; they make just enough moisture to coat the surface of their eyes.

Even after that, babies don't cry just when they're sad or in pain; they do it to communicate, too. When they're wailing because they're mad, frustrated, or tired  -- or just making noise to get your attention  -- they physically produce fewer tears.

Dehydration can affect tear production, but that usually happens only when children are really ill with vomiting or diarrhea. If your baby seems active, doesn't have a fever, has a good appetite, and is wetting her diapers regularly, this is probably not an issue. Red, irritated eyes are another sign of dehydration. As long as her eyes aren't bloodshot, she must be making some tears  -- but you're not seeing them because they're not running down her face.

If she does have any of these symptoms, give your doctor a call. Otherwise, wait a couple of months  -- you may just see those teardrops yet!