When Does the Change in Baby's Eyes Colour Occur

The moment that you've waited so long for has finally arrived – looking into your baby's eyes for the very first time. However, did you know that there are different baby eye colour change stages that can go up to months or years before your baby gets a final eye colour? To know everything about the newborn eye colour, keep reading.

What Is Eye Colour?

Eye colour actually refers to the appearance of the iris, which is the coloured ring that surrounds the pupil (the black part) of each eye. The iris helps control the amount of light that enters the eye.

Your baby’s pupils will always be black, and the sclera (the whites) of your baby’s eyes will almost always be white — except temporarily, for example if your little one has jaundice, giving them a yellow tint.

If the whites of your baby’s eyes ever look pink or red, your little one could have conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the eye. This isn’t usually serious but may need treatment that your baby’s doctor can prescribe.

Let your baby's doctor know straight away if you think your baby might have jaundice or conjunctivitis.

Do All Babies Have Blue Eyes at Birth?

It’s a common belief that all babies are born with blue eyes, but this is actually a myth. A baby’s blue eyes at birth depends on genetics. Brown is also common, for example, but a newborn baby’s eyes can range in colour from slate grey to black.

It is true, however, that you may not be able to tell your newborn baby’s final eye colour straight away, because not all babies are born with the eye colour they’ll have later on in life. The changes in eye colour are one of the 6-month baby milestones that goes on up to a year. For example, a child may be born with grey eyes that turn brown several months later.

When Do Babies Get Their Final Eye Colour?

The amount of time it takes for your baby’s eyes to assume their final colour varies a lot. Usually, the final colour will be settled by the age of 3, but his or her eye colour may stop changing earlier than this.

Sometimes, eye colour can keep on changing right into adulthood, so although your baby’s eyes will probably get their colour in the first months and years after being born, you may notice them getting a little lighter or darker after this as well.

What Does Melanin Have to Do with Baby Eye Colour?

The colour of your baby’s irises depends on melanin, a type of pigment that also gives your baby’s skin and hair its colour.

Depending on the amount of melanin secreted along with other factors like genetics, your baby's eyes colour will change. Less amount of melanin can result in blue eyes while an increased amount can denote green or hazel eyes. Babies born with darker shades of eye colour will continue to have darker eye colour while lighter eye colours will change to darker colours too.

Typically, the changes in the eye colour of babies occurs during the 6-month baby development phase. However, most babies' eyes continue to change colour until the first year, after which the change slows down.

How Genetics Play a Role in Baby’s Eyes Colour?

The amount of melanin your baby produces – and other factors contributing to your eye colour – are determined by genetics. Often, babies whose heritage is dark-skinned may be born with – or eventually have – darker coloured eyes, and the opposite is true for children of lighter-skinned parents.

However, keep in mind that as parents, we inherit two copies of each gene – one from each parent – so besides the eye-colour genes that determine our eye colour, we also carry other ‘hidden’ copies of the same genes that can still be passed on to our children.

This means that even if you have brown eyes, for example, the other eye-colour gene inherited from your parents may be for a different eye colour. The same is true of your partner.

You and/or your partner may pass on these hidden genes to your baby instead of the ones that determine your own and your partner’s eye colour.

To make things a bit more complicated, some of these genes are dominant and others are what’s known as ‘recessive’. That is, they only work if there is no dominant gene present.

This is why you can’t always predict what your baby’s eye colour will eventually be just by looking at your own and your partner’s eye colour.

What Colour Will Your Baby’s Eyes Be?

Genetics is a complicated science, but here's a simplified example of how your baby might come to have different coloured eyes to you and your partner:

  • The brown-eye gene is dominant, and the blue-eye gene is recessive. So, if you've inherited the blue-eye gene from one parent and the brown-eye genes from the other, your eyes will be brown. However, you're still carrying the blue-eye gene as well, and there's a 50-50 chance that this will be the eye-colour gene you pass on to your own baby.

  • Your partner's eye colour also counts. So, for example, the colour of your baby's eyes will still be brown if he or she gets the (dominant) brown genes from your partner BUT if your partner also passes on a ‘hidden' blue-eye gene (perhaps inherited from a grandparent or more distant ancestor), then your baby could end up as the only blue-eyed member of your immediate family.

  • Of course, brown-eyed parents with a blue-eyed child is a rarer scenario. Statistically, it's more likely that the baby of two parents with the same eye colour will also have that same colour of eyes too. This example just shows how this isn't necessarily always the case.

What If One Parent Has Blue Eyes and the Other Has Brown?

Well, the brown-eye gene is dominant and blue-eye gene is recessive, so you might think this means your baby's eyes will turn brown – and statistically you'd have a very good chance of being right.

However, there's also a possibility that the eye-colour genes you pass on to your baby aren't the ones that determine your own eye colour. If your baby inherits two of the recessive genes associated with blue eyes, then he or she may take after the blue-eyed parent.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • It could take anything from a few months to three years for your baby to get to his or her final eye colour. Changes in eye colour can even continue into adulthood in some cases.

  • No. A baby’s eye colour at birth depends on genetics. Brown is also common, for example. Dark-skinned newborns are more likely to be born with darker coloured eyes.

  • Eye colour is mostly genetic. The colour of your baby’s eyes will be largely determined by the genes inherited from you and your partner.

The Bottom Line

Every baby is unique and so is everything about them, including their eye colour. Irrespective of your baby’s eye colour, you’ll surely love gazing into his eyes.

In no time, your baby will get his final eye colour and it is just one of your baby’s many physical and personality traits that continue to unfold before your eyes in the upcoming months.

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