If you’re new to the world of trimming or cutting baby nails, it can be a scary place to be. Who knew that the most fragile and cutest hands could be home to one of the most terrifying jobs as a new parent?
If you’re looking for some simple tips on how to trim baby nails, you’ll get some good pointers here.
Because as much as you might not want to trim your baby’s nails, it’s actually super important to do. Your little one’s “claws” are active and if his nails are long, he’s going to likely scratch up his own face and body in the process.
Instead of letting that happen, it’s time to learn how to be effective and confident when it comes to trimming your baby’s nails.
“You don’t know scary until you cut your baby’s nails for the first time!”
~ All moms
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Frequently asked questions about how to trim baby nails
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When can I start cutting my baby’s nails?
This is probably the biggest question that parents have when it comes to addressing their baby’s nails.
“How soon is too soon and how do you even know?“
Thinking back to a discussion I had with a pediatrician at one point in my mommy life — I was told that a newborn baby’s nails are paper-thin.
The suggestion was that while they are still little, simply tear off the nail at the tips of their fingers instead of worrying about using clippers and cutting it off.
This tip actually did work for quite some time and it was great for relieving anxiety as well. (Because we all know that the worst part of trimming nails is the fear that we’re going to clip the skin off their fingers too!)
However, there are many parents that don’t want to “tear” the nail off for fear that it will break and cause other serious issues to the nail. I do get that.
Believe me when I say that I trust your judgment and you’re only doing what works best for you and your baby.
Using fingernail clippers when your baby is around 3-4 weeks old tends to be a good age to start.
If you’re worried about him scratching himself in the first few weeks of not cutting his nails, just put on those cute little newborn gloves or socks to offer some protection.
Can babies’ nails be cut short?
This is why we all hate doing this task. We don’t want to be the one that cuts our baby’s nails too short, drawing blood and causing him pain.
Just be mindful of cutting his nails. Don’t try to make them super short.
Why do baby nails grow so fast?
I know, right? They’re seriously like magic!
Seriously though, babies have a much faster metabolism than most of us. Thus, their nails grow twice as fast as the average adult.
Dr. Bernard Cohen of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center explains why here.
What do I do if I cut my baby’s finger with nail clippers?
The dreaded question.
If you happen to accidentally cut your baby’s finger with nail clippers, stay calm. Understand that accidents can and will happen. It is all part of the task.
There is no doubt that your baby will probably cry and that there might be a bit of blood. What you need to do on your end is to grab a towel and put a little bit of pressure on the spot to get the bleeding to stop. After some time, it will.
Just remember to give yourself grace and stay calm during the process. It was an accident and one that could have happened to anyone.
PRO TIP: If you are truly scared to take chances and don’t mind the price, this nail clipper is super safe to use. You can use it up until your baby is older. Plus, it comes with materials for adults so mommy or daddy can enjoy it too!
If you realize in the process that it isn’t for you or your baby, simply return it as it comes with a 30-day refund.
I, on the other hand, am sticking to my old school ways and will keep using this kind for my little kids.
How do you cut a baby’s nails if they won’t let you?
Welcome to the world of parenting! Babies are super active and there will always be a chance that they won’t sit still long enough for you to even cut their nails.
If this is a concern, you’ll have to think outside the box a bit.
One of the easiest ways to cut your baby’s nails is to do so when he’s sleeping. You’ll have to be really quiet while being very careful not to wake him up and yank away his hands.
Related article: Newborn Baby Routine [+Free Sample Baby Schedule]
Quick and Simple Tips on How to Trim Baby Nails
Now that you know some of the most common questions that people ask when it comes to learning how to trim baby nails, let’s dive into a few simple and quick tips to keep in mind.
Be careful and quick.
If you show fear and take a long time, your baby might pick up on that. Be fast, be safe, and be careful. It’ll be over and done with before you know it.
Try to distract while you’re trimming his nails.
Sometimes a simple distraction is all that you need. Sing a song, tell a silly story, or have someone stand above you and dance to get his attention.
While they’re busy looking at that going on, you’ll be able to work quickly and get his nails clipped with ease.
Don’t force it.
If you can’t make it happen, just wait a little bit and try again. There’s no reason in getting yourself and your baby all worked up just to get the nails trimmed.
Take a step away and then come back to it later when you’re refreshed and ready.
Even though the thought of trimming your baby’s nails might overwhelm you, don’t let it become a barrier in your life. Just like anything, the more that you do it, the easier it’s going to get.
The Step-by-Step Guide on Trimming your Baby’s Nails
- Wash your hands.
As a rule, we all make sure to clean our hands before holding our babies.
You will be dealing with your baby’s hands and those little hands inevitably go to his mouth most of the time. So be certain to wash your hands before handling his.
- Gather your tools.
Be prepared with all the necessary stuff. These include your baby nail care set and some clean towel, gauze or tissues.
- Find a safe place with adequate light.
You must look for a place that will work for you no matter what. Be sure that you’re comfortably situated for your baby’s sake.
- Position your baby’s hand and firmly (yet gently) hold it with your non-dominant hand.
This will keep your baby from jerking his hand away and make it easier for you.
- Gently push down on your baby’s finger pad before cutting.
Providing some space between the nail and the finger pad will prevent you from nicking your baby’s finger.
- Trim your baby’s fingernails just above that white nail line with small and short cuts.
Avoid cutting them too short for safety purposes.
If you are cutting his toenails, go ahead and cut straight across to avoid an ingrown toenail.
- File your baby’s nails.
To end the process, file his nails with a glass nail file. Never use a metal file on your baby’s nails.
PRO TIP: Always aim to trim your baby’s nails after bath time. Babies tend to be calmer at this time. Plus their nails will be softer too!
Final Say on How to Trim your Baby’s Nails
Since baby nails tend to grow rapidly, there’s a high possibility that this is something that you’re going to be doing on a regular basis.
Just don’t forget to follow the simple tips above on how to trim your baby’s nails and you’ll be a nail cutting pro in no time at all.
Yes, there will always be drawbacks… But what can I say? Accidents happen. We will make mistakes. We just have to put it down to experience and carry on with our ever-challenging new mommy life.
Hang in there, Mama! You got this!
Talk to you soon,