As a baby’s tear ducts develop, it isn’t uncommon to see a yellow, crusty discharge that accumulates in one or both eyes. While it isn’t pretty, it’s actually normal and not a cause for alarm.
Most babies don’t cry real tears for at least a few weeks, and tear ducts are usually fully formed between 2-6 months. During this process, tears begin to drain through the tiny ducts in the corners of the eyes, but become blocked by a thin membrane that usually breaks naturally from the pressure of the tears. Gentle blocked tear duct treatment may help your baby through this process.
Why the goop?
Occasionally the membrane does not break on its own and the build-up of tears creates a crust, goopy discharge that may or may not irritate your baby.
What parents can do: Blocked tear duct treatment
Blocked tear duct treatment is usually simple and easy for parents to do at home. First, gently wipe away the discharge with a warm wet. Then find the small bump located in the corner of each eye that is closest to the nose. Massage gently with an upward motion five or six times. Repeat as often, such as during feeding times or after bathing.
Massaging baby’s tear ducts will apply pressure to congested fluid trapped within the blocked tear duct. Eventually, massage will help to open the membrane allowing tears to flow properly.
Some parents who need extra peace of mind may choose to use a compress of eyebright tea or squirt a few drops of breast milk into the affected eye. Either choice is a safe blocked tear duct treatment that will not cause any harm and may help to prevent secondary eye infections.
Still concerned about infection?
In some cases, tear ducts can become infected. If the only thing you’re seeing is a yellow, crusty discharge, there’s probably no infection. Even if your baby is rubbing her eyes and seems uncomfortable, it’s probably only the goop and crust that’s causing the irritation.
If baby has red, inflamed eyes, a fever, is inconsolable, or has been around sick kids recently, it may be a sign of infection, and you should call your practitioner for more treatment options. You can read about natural eye remedies here…
Have you used a blocked tear duct treatment that worked well for your baby? Let us know below!
photo credit: Family O’Abé