My 3-week-old baby has watery eyes. It’s sometimes yellowish in the morning and sticks to their eyelids. What is causing this? What should I do? Thanks, Agathe
Your baby probably has newborn conjunctivitis. If the discharge is only clear or sometimes thick and yellowish, it doesn’t seem to be infected. During 4 weeks after birth, 20% of newborns will have conjunctivitis. This the inflammation of the eye’s conjunctiva due to the presence of a virus or bacteria.
To help the situation, you can frequently wipe their eye with boiled water and a clean tissue, wiping from the nose outwards, never coming back. Some people will tell you to place a few drops of your breast milk in their eye 3 times a day to clean it. This is due to the antibodies found in your milk. You can also wash your hands, and with your little finger, massage, using a rotating movement, the inside corner of your baby’s eye (near their nose). This will unblock the lacrimal (nasolacrimal) duct, which may be obstructed. This blockage will prevent the baby’s natural eye cleaning process.
The big term congenital dacryostenosis means the obstruction of the nasolacrimal duct. In rare cases, some babies will need surgery later in life to free up this duct, but usually, 96% of cases will disappear within the first year of life.
If the discharge becomes yellow, thick, sticky, abundant or even greenish, these are signs of infection, and you should speak to your nurse, pharmacist, midwife or doctor for appropriate treatment.
Agathe, I hope this helps!
The Baby Expert
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