Baby Nails
Trimming Baby Fingernails

A frequent question posed by most mothers is how soon you can cut the baby’s fingernails. It is common for the to scratch their faces, so many want to do this as soon as possible. The baby’s fingernails grow about 0.1mm per day on average. These nails are very delicate, so many will be concerned about when to clip them. Starting this early is important for their safety.

When Should We Start Clipping?

This really differs for each baby. Some are born with long fingernails and need to be trimmed quickly. For others you may wait a week or two. It is not uncommon to trim them several times each week during the first month. If you do not feel it is time to cut them yet, you can use mittens to prevent the baby from scratching their face. A baby’s toenails grow slower than fingernails and normally only needs trimming once or twice a month.

What Tools Are Needed?

Do not bite or tear your newborn’s nails. Tearing the nails to trim them is imprecise and can injure underlying skin. A soft emery board or baby nail clippers are usually sufficient to do the job. Baby nail scissors have rounded edges. Using scissors, such as blunt-nosed scissors, and clippers provide more control over how and where you trim the nails. Extra care is required if you use clippers or scissors — these implements are sharp enough to cut the tip of a baby’s finger.

How To Trim The Nails

Choose a well-lit place and find a position for holding the baby that is comfortable and gives you easy access to your baby’s fingers or toes. Hold your newborn’s palm and finger with one hand. Keep the finger steady while you trim with the other hand. Press down gently on the skin at the fingertip to clear the way to trim the nails, including the sides. Trim the nails, around the edges and use the soft emery board to smooth away rough or jagged edges. Use the same method when trimming the baby’s toenails.

Things To Consider

If your baby will not be still, try trimming their nails at a time when they are most calm, such after a bath or when they are asleep. You might also ask someone to hold the baby while you trim the nails. If you puncture skin, stop any bleeding by applying gentle pressure to the cut with a sterile gauze pad. A bandage is not recommended since the baby could choke on it. If the skin along the nail hardens or becomes inflamed, contact your pediatrician.


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