Why Does My Baby Have Bags Under Their Eyes?


Despite all the sleeping they do, sometimes your little one may have the same bags under their eyes that you do! Why do babies have bags under their eyes? Is it something to worry about? Read on to find out why this might be happening and what you should do if it is an ongoing problem for your baby.

Why your baby has dark circles under their eyes

The area around our eyes is made up of delicate skin, and baby’s eyes are no exception. Dark circles may even be more prominent on the new, sensitive skin of your little one’s face – it is only recently getting exposure to all sorts of new things, (like sun and air!) so it has a lot to deal with!

There are a few reasons why your baby might have dark circles under their eyes.

Your baby has bags under their eyes because – they have allergies

Under-eye bags can be a sign of an underlying allergy. Infants have a developing immune system, and allergies can be triggered by all sorts, including pollen, food, medicines, and more. Apart from puffy eyes, other symptoms of allergies include redness of the eyes, itchiness, rashes, sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, and others.

What can you do about it?

The first step for treating allergies in babies is to identify the cause. Start by eliminating common allergens, or allergens that affect mom and dad, to see if symptoms improve.

With this extra information, visit your baby’s pediatrician who can provide medical advice, or a referral to an immunologist. Your baby may be prescribed antihistamines to help with their symptoms.

Over the course of the year, be aware of how pollen levels change during seasons and avoid high-risk areas when possible. Seasonal allergies may be a thing you’ll need to be aware of, and it could be something which impacts baby’s health for a few years, or into their adult lives.

Your baby has bags under their eyes because – their genetic make-up means they’re predisposed

Sometimes dark circles or under-eye bags have nothing to do with allergies or any other external factor. Instead, it can be due to the genetic make-up of your baby.

If your baby has a high concentration of the pigment-producing hormone melanin, they may have more pronounced dark circles. Moreover, under-eye bags can occur if your baby’s skin is thin. Here, muscle and blood vessels can make the bags look puffed up. 

What can you do about it?

If heredity is the reason behind baby’s dark circles and puffy eyes, it is more likely a cosmetic thing. My eldest son has dark circles (they’re on his dad’s side mostly) but they don’t affect his health.

Should the dark circles be more of a concern to you, have a chat with baby’s doctor. They may recommend some moisturizer or other ointments to help address baby’s eyes.

Your baby has bags under their eyes because – they have a sinus infection

Swelling around the eyes is one of the symptoms of pediatric sinusitis. Apart from swollen eyes, other sinusitis symptoms include cold, fever lasting for more than ten days, continuous nasal discharge of greenish-yellow color, headache, and fatigue.

It takes your child some time to develop their immunity, and this might range from a few months to a few years. Especially in the early stage, infants are at higher risk of falling sick and developing sinusitis quickly from microorganisms. Viruses, bacteria, and other allergies can cause infant sinusitis.

What can you do about it?

If you suspect that your baby has contracted sinusitis, consult an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) specialist. In the case of bacterial sinusitis, a dose of antibiotic can do wonders, though handling viral sinusitis can be more challenging.

At the same time, a proper medical plan or surgical procedure can treat chronic sinusitis. The common sign of chronic sinusitis is when a cold lasts for more than two weeks. 

Your baby has bags under their eyes because – they’ve got a cold, or other nasal congestion

A particular group of viruses called the rhinoviruses causes the common cold. Rhinoviruses infect the nasal passage of our respiratory system. 

The most typical symptoms of cold are a runny nose and puffy red eyes, as cold causes nasal congestion. Inflammation of the mucous lining causes under-eye bags in babies.

As mentioned earlier, babies have a weaker immune system than adults. Thus, they are more susceptible to catching a cold from other people.

What can you do about it?

A common cold can cause fever, and you should contact your doctor to get the proper medicines to treat the cold in your baby. Antibiotics are meant for bacterial infections, so they would not work in the case of the common cold.

You can take measures to prevent a cold. If any of the family members are sick, ask them to keep a distance from your baby. You can also use a humidifier while your baby is sleeping to help him comfortably breathe as it thins out the mucus layer formed in the nasal passage. 

Your baby has bags under their eyes because – they’re sleep-deprived

Most often, dark circles are something we associate with sleep. Babies may have under-eye bags due to something as simple as sleep deprivation. They loved the environment inside your tummy, which was peaceful, static, and comfortable for them. The outside world can be full of noise and other disturbances. 

Infants need a lot of sleep. Like…a lot. If you’ve got a tired baby and they’re not getting what they need, dark circles and under-eye bags can occur, along with a higher risk of disease. Sleep helps infants develop their metabolism and absorb nutrients from new kinds of foods. Sleep is also crucial for building their immune system.

What can you do about it?

Make sure you have a dim-lit, warm room with less noise for your baby to sleep peacefully throughout the day and night. Speak with your baby’s pediatrician who can give your baby an overall health assessment, make sure baby is on track with a healthy weight gain, and let you know how much sleep they feel your baby needs.

Your baby has bags under their eyes because – they’re dehydrated

When babies are dehydrated, they may display some of the common symptoms such as under-eye bags. Babies can get dehydrated for a variety of reasons – from teething to fever and stomach flu.

Dehydration is no joke in infants, so make sure you keep your baby hydrated with breastmilk or formula. Babies younger than 6 months old should not be given water, unless under direct medical advice.

What can you do about it?

If you think your baby is dehydrated, then speak to your pediatrician or local healthcare provider immediately. Dehydration may cause serious issues for babies if not treated on time. Your doctor will let you know how much liquid should be consumed by your baby every day, as well as any other instructions you will need to follow until they recover.

What are the potential complications of dark circles under the eyes in children?

Dark circles are more often than not a symptom, so it is important to look at the causes of dark circles instead. If baby’s eyes are puffy, and particularly if you believe they are impacting your child’s health and development, take the time to explore some of the common causes, and reach out to a pediatrician.

In rare cases, Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that persists throughout life and is a complication that might cause dark circles under the eyes in children. Dehydration can also cause dark circles and make children look pale or dull.

In conclusion – dark circles under baby’s eyes can be normal, but stay vigilant

There are plenty of common reasons for dark circles. If your baby’s puffy and seems to have dark circles that are impacting his health and development, speak with a pediatrician who can help determine if the cause is due to allergies, fever, teething, stomach flu or even insomnia. It’s also important to remember how crucial hydration is for babies’ overall health! Babies need plenty of fluids every day so make sure they’re getting enough. It helped me to keep a diary, particularly in the early months.

If you still find yourself asking “why does my baby have bags under his eyes?” – speak to your pediatrician! They can help determine if the dark circles are due to allergies, fever, teething, or the flu. There’s a good chance there is nothing to worry about, and they can reassure you that baby’s dark circles are normal.

Carly Wight

Mother of two young boys (6 and 3!) and an avid "Googler", Carly is the kind to research something to the nth degree. Be it about products, hacks, or techniques, she shares what she finds out at her website - Fairy Good Mommy.

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