Have you noticed your baby can cry and cry (and cry) but not shed a tear? That’s because tears aren’t produced until around the end of the first month. As for their vision, babies can see best 20cm away - making your face a perfect object to study. Anything too close or too far away will be a big blur, so hang mobiles accordingly.
Speaking of mobiles, babies tend to look more to the right and left than straight ahead for the first few weeks, so try hanging them to one side or the other. And don't worry if your baby is still uninterested -- many won't care for mobiles for another week or two.
Generally speaking, your baby's eyes will clean themselves, but when it's bath time, clean your baby’s eyes by wiping a clean washcloth or cotton ball from the inside corner to the outside corner.
Blocked tear ducts
Your baby starts to produce tears at around three weeks or so, yet up to 30 percent of babies will have one or both tear ducts clogged (at the inner corner of each eye.) You’ll notice tears overflowing from one or both eyes, sometimes with a yellowish mucus accumulating in the clogged eye. Wipe away the (sometimes crusted-on) mucus with a wet sterile cotton ball.
Most babies clogged tear ducts clear on their own within the first year and require no treatment. However, you can try and open the clogged membrane with massage: After washing your hands, gently rub the inner corner of each eye in an upward direction (toward the nose) about six to ten times. Do this as often as you can remember, such as before each nappy change.
If your baby’s eye(s) becomes red, swollen, or has an excessive and heavy discharge, there might be an infection. Your pediatrician might prescribe an antibiotic ointment or drops, or may refer you to an ophthalmologist if severe.
The vast majority of cases will clear on their own, so just keep your baby’s eye clean and be patient.
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This article was written by Linda Drummond for Kidspot, New Zealand’s leading pregnancy and parenting resource.