Newborn babies are incapable of producing actual tears because their tear ducts haven’t fully formed yet. In many cases, their underdeveloped tear ducts can also be clogged with amniotic fluid for a time after birth.
Every baby is born with basal tearing, which means that their tear ducts create enough moisture only to keep the eyes wet and healthy. Proper tears in a baby begin around 3 to 12 weeks old. In some cases, it will take even longer – up to the first several months of a baby’s life.
Interestingly, despite this lack of “crying” tears, newborns do have reflex tearing; the kind that adults get when slicing an onion, for example.