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How To Trim Baby Nails

Do You Really Need To Cut Babys Nails

How to Trim Baby Nails – Babylist

Unfortunately, yes. This is one of those things you really dont want to do as a parent but have to anyway. Cutting babys nails is important to keep the nails clean and to help baby avoid unwanted and unintentional scratches, says Dane Snyder, MD, section chief of ambulatory pediatrics at Nationwide Childrens Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

As for when to cut babys nails, theres really no set timeyou should do it whenever theyre long. But keep in mind that baby nails grow faster than adults, and typically require trimming around once a week, says Kristen Slack, MD, a pediatrician at Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. Some babies are born with long fingernails, so you should start filing or cutting newborn nails right away. However, you may need to trim those baby toenails less frequently. Often, toenails dont grow as quickly in the newborn period, so you may notice they dont need to be trimmed as often as fingernails, Snyder says.

Once youve resigned yourself to the reality that baby nails need a regular trim, there are a couple ways to approach the task: You can use a nail file to sand the nails down or nail clippers to cut them. Read on to learn the proper technique for both methods.

How To Cut Baby Nails My Best Tips

  • A relaxed and happy parent is the best nail technician, so dont try to do it when youre stressed or rushed.
  • Buy proper baby nail tools they have build in safety features and are size appropriate, which means youre more likely to get the job done safely.
  • Sit baby on your lap facing outward, so her nails are on the same angle as your nails
  • Praise your baby for letting you trim his nails, and talk to him throughout the process to keep him engaged and happy.
  • Be consistent, so baby knows what to expect when the clippers come out.
  • Dont lose hope. Baby cares require a gentle and confident approach and also takes practice. Having someone there to help you cut babys nails for the first time is a great way to improve your confidence.
  • Baby mittens are fine to use for newborns before youre ready to trim your babys nails. And if youre not ready to use clippers or scissors, an emery board works well in the beginning, too.

What Not To Do

Even though you have quite a free rein when it comes to trimming your babys nails, there are two methods that you just shouldnt try.

  • Dont bite your babys nails: Staring at your babys nails in need of a trim with no tool handy, you might get the urge to bite them off. But please dont. By biting their nails, you introduce germs from your mouth, which can trigger a viral or bacterial infection. Its also likely to leave sharp edges behind.
  • Dont tear the nails off: Even if its just a small section of the nail, dont be tempted to just pull it off you could cause an ingrown nail by doing this. Ingrown nails are painful and can become infected.

Both of these methods could easily remove too much of the nail, causing injury to your babys finger or toe.

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Do I Need To Cut My Baby’s Nails

You may not need to cut your baby’s nails for the first few months. Newborns’ nails are very soft and will probably be worn down by their clothing.

However, babies can’t control their arm or leg movements for the first 6 weeks. If their nails are sharp or jagged, they may scratch themselves. If you notice your baby’s nails need to be smoothed, you may need to trim them.

Babies nails grow very fast, so keep an eye on them and trim them when necessary.

Tips For Trimming Baby Nails

Cutting Baby

Trimming your little one’s nails can be both terrifying and frustrating for all involved but it doesn’t have to be.

With these few tips and tricks up your sleeve, nail trimming can be, quite literally, painless.

Why is it so important to keep your child’s nails short in the first place?

Even when your baby is first born, their nails can cause some pretty serious scratching, to themselves, you, their siblings and anyone else within arm’s reach. While their nails are generally quite soft, they can also be sharp and the skin of a newborn is so very delicate. Their motor control is yet to be refined and so their hands often go flailing. With long nails these movements can easily result in nasty cuts and unnecessary pain for your child. Many parents put mittens on their child’s hands to avoid this but this is only a short-term solution keeping those tiny nails trimmed instead can make the world of difference.

What about when your child starts crawling?

Even though they’re less likely to end up in someone’s mouth, your child’s toenails are also important to consider. Long toenails can create holes in socks, make shoes uncomfortable and easily scratch others, particularly in summer when shoes are only worn when absolutely necessary! Incorrect trimming often causes painful ingrown toenails so it’s important to pay particular attention to those little toes.

So what does make for good practice when trimming those little fingernails and toenails?

Find out more about Nail Snail

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Be Prepared For Any Accidents

As frightening as the prospect might be, there’s a good chance you’ll cut a little too close sometime. So keep a tissue or some gauze on hand.

If there is any bleeding, hold the tissue or gauze along the cut for a few minutes or until the bleeding stops. But don’t put a bandaid on your baby’s finger. If your baby puts their fingers in their mouth, the bandaid can come off and pose a choking hazard.

While these accidents can cause you to feel awful about injuring your baby, try not to beat yourself up. You are not the first parent to trim too close. With practice, and by going slow, you will get the hang of trimming your baby’s nails.

When Should I Cut My Babys Nails

Parenting hack? Cut your babys nails when theyre sleeping and calm. Its great to limit the possibility of any sudden movements before tackling this task. You really dont want your baby moving their hand when youre in the middle of cutting a nail.

Cutting your babys nails after a bath is also a good idea. Not only will your little one be drowsy, but their skin and nails will also be softer. Plus, lets be honest: The delightful smell of baby wash will help you keep your zen.

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Why Should I Trim My Babys Nails

Baby nails may seem pliable and softer than yours, but they can cause significant damage. Those tiny claws are sharp! If youve ever handled a newborn with flailing arms or a six-month-old trying to grab your lips, you know they hurt.

Unfortunately, young babies dont have control of where their fingers land. This is mostly due to their lack of muscle control, which doesnt fully develop until theyre older .

Sometimes their fingers do end up in vulnerable places, such as their own eyes. For a while, my little one had nothing but tiny scratches near the eye. Even though I would trim her nails at least once a week, it just wasnt enough.

That leads us to the next point. Baby fingernails grow fast, and by fast, I mean lightning speed, or so it seems . Some moms report having to trim their babys nails every few days I ended up having to do the same.

How Do I Cut My Baby’s Nails

How to Trim Baby’s Nails

The best time to cut your baby’s nails is when they’re asleep or very drowsy and calm. After a bath is a good time because their nails will be softer then.

Make sure you have plenty of light and that you hold your baby securely either in your arms or in a highchair. It can help if someone else holds the baby while you cut the nails.

You can use baby nail clippers or baby nail scissors with rounded ends. Pull the pad of the finger or toe gently away from the nail to avoid cutting the skin and then cut the nail straight across. Sometimes you may just need to use an emery board to smooth and round the nail.

Some babies might not like having their nails cut. You can soothe them by talking or singing to them, distracting them with a toy or making a game of it. Praise your baby when you have finished.

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How To Trim Your Babys Nails

When its time to trim your little ones nails, parents use different tactics. It all depends on what makes you and your baby comfortable.

Some moms find it comforting to have their partner assist in the process one holding and the other trimming. Others may feel its easier during feeding time, or perhaps when their baby is fast asleep.

Before we get into the how tos, here are some additional tips:

  • Find a good position:Sit in the rocker, place your baby in your lap, or lay them on the bed when theyre sleeping. Find a place that works for you.
  • Visibility: Dont try to trim your babys nails in a dimly lit room, even if theyre sleeping. Sit by the window or beside a lamp anything to give you enough light to navigate the process carefully.
  • Hold your baby still: The more their hands move, the bigger the chance that youll accidentally cut their finger. If your baby seems nervous, talk, or sing while youre busy.
  • Use an emery board: If there are any rough edges, use an emery board to smooth them out.
  • Trim nails after a bath: Theyll be softer and easier to clip.

With various possible methods for trimming your little ones nails, choose the one that youre most comfortable with.

Tips To Trim Baby Nails Safely

  • Post last modified:May 29, 2020

Are you on your way to trim baby nails? Maybe wondering how to do it without hurting your baby?

Trimming your babys nails can seem like a really scary thing to do. And baby nails grow fast!

And as infants cant really control their movements during their first few months, they tend to scratch themselves all the time, especially in the face.

With a newborn, the baby nails are not too difficult to trim, because the infant is usually quite still. But in the beginning, your babys nails shouldnt be cut at all.

Later on, it is much harder, but must be done often.

Here youll find advice on when and how to trim your babys nails, and how NOT to trim them. Youll also find an instructive video at the bottom of the article.

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How To Trim Your Nails

How to trim your nails

Nail grooming is a simple yet important self-care routine. Not only do short, well-manicured nails look great, they are also less likely to harbor dirt and bacteria, which can lead to an infection. To properly trim your nails, follow these tips from board-certified dermatologists.

Nail grooming is a simple yet important self-care routine. Not only do short, well-manicured nails look great, they are also less likely to harbor dirt and bacteria, which can lead to an infection. In addition, the right nail clipping technique can help prevent common issues like hangnails and ingrown toenails.

Although nail clipping seems pretty straightforward, there are some important steps you should follow to ensure a healthy cut. To properly trim your nails, dermatologists recommend the following tips:

  • Soften the nails. The best time to trim your nails is immediately after taking a bath or shower. However, if that isnt possible, soak your nails in lukewarm water for a few minutes to soften them.

  • Gather the proper tools. Use a nail clipper or nail scissors for your fingernails and a toenail clipper for your toenails. Remember to disinfect your tools monthly. To disinfect them, soak a small scrub brush in a bowl of 70 to 90 percent isopropyl alcohol and then use the brush to scrub your nail clippers or nail scissors. Afterwards, rinse the tools in hot water and dry them completely before putting them away.

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    Choose The Right Time

    How to trim your baby

    Many parents like to trim their babies nails while theyre napping, and if you have a heavy dozer, that might be a good option for you. Wait about 20 minutes for the unsuspecting infant to reach a deep, non-REM level of slumber and then make your move.

    I, however, could barely let myself breathe on my child after she had fallen asleep. It isnt that she was a particularly light sleeper, but preserving the sanctity of The Nap was just that important. I couldnt risk it. A good alternative, Ive found, is to trim your babys nails right after a bath. Theyre usually happy and relaxed, and their nails are nice and soft.

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    Nail Trimming Dos And Donts

    • Do use baby nail clippers, baby nail trimming scissors, or an emery board.

    • Do push down on the pad of her finger. Make sure that none of her skin is showing when you cut the nail. You only want to cut the nail.

    • Do cut along the shape of the nail. Round any rough edges with an emery board.

    • Do cut toenails straight. Even though ingrown toenails are not likely with a baby, you still want to try to cut them straight across.

    • Do not worry if you have an oopsie. It happens. If you accidentally cut babys finger apply pressure to stop the bleeding. You can use a clean cloth or bandage and apply a little antibiotic ointment after the bleeding stops.

    • Do not use regular adult nail clippers. They are very sharp and may cut the tip of babys fingers.

    Buy The Right Baby Nail Supplies

    Before you ever begin trimming, youll need the right nail supplies. Add everything you need to cut babys nails to your registry or buy the items ahead of your due date. If you wait until your little one arrives, buying your nail supplies is just one more thing to think about. It sounds like no big deal now, but with little sleep and a lot of time spent feeding baby, youll want to cut down on trips to the store as much as possible.

    Lets cover what to add to the list. According to the experts at Nemours Childrens Health, your supply kit should include a pair of baby nail clippers and an emery board made especially for infants. Many of the most popular brands sell these tools as a set. Dont buy clippers or a filing board made for older children or adults. The National Institute of Healths MedlinePlus says theyre too large and rigid for a newborns pliable fingernails and toenails. Some stores sell baby clippers with safety guards and special sights so its easier to see your childs nail while you cut. If youre curious about the best types of trimmers and tools, ask your pediatrician for their most trusted options.

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    How To Cut Your Baby’s Nails

  • Use a baby scissors, theyre easier to use – most pharmacists will have them.
  • Hold the finger you plan to start working on first between your forefinger and thumb, use the rest of your hand to enclose the rest of your babys hand.
  • Gently push back the fingertip from the nail to allow space for the scissors – this avoids nipping the skin
  • Repeat with each finger and thumb until all the nails are cut.
  • Most parents accidentally nick their babys skin at one time or another. If this happens, dont worry. Gently press a clean towel or gauze to the cut until the bleeding stops.

    Newborn babys will have very soft nails in there first few days after birth. So it will be possible to gently peel the ends off with your fingers instead of using a scissors.

    How Do You Clean Your Babys Nails

    How to cut your baby’s nails

    The only thing harder than cutting baby nails is cleaning them. Well-kept nails are part of healthy cuticle care, so to make this process easier, get a small soft toothbrush. Run it under warm water and gently rub it under the infants nail. Dont push the toothbrush directly under the nail or too hard. This could hurt the babys fingers or push the dirt further into their skin. As you lightly scrub beneath their nails, rinse the toothbrush after scrubbing each finger.

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    What If You Accidentally Cut The Skin

    If you accidentally cut the babys skin while clipping their nails, follow the steps mentioned below.

    • Wipe away any blood with a cotton ball or tissue paper. Do not press the fingertip, let the blood flow naturally.
    • Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol or antiseptic liquid. Gently clean the wound with it. Alternatively, you may immediately wash the wound with soap and water.
    • Wipe away the water or excess alcohol/antiseptic. Leave the wound open and do not apply a bandage since the baby may accidentally nibble it away, increasing the risk of choking.

    The wound will heal within days. If the wound is deep and bleeding profusely, see a doctor after you have provided first-aid with the aforementioned steps. If it is the second time you accidentally cut the babys skin, it may be that it is difficult to clip your babys nails. You may switch to filing their nails instead.


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