Those itsy bitsy nails grow faster than you realize, especially since newborns tend to scratch their faces a lot. Here’s how to get trim your newborn’s nails safely without either of you shedding tears.
In the very beginning, you might only need an emery board. Yes, they make baby-sized emery boards! Some newborn’s nails are so soft that a clipper or scissors just aren’t necessary. But some babes have nails that are too thin for filing. Either way, once you’re ready to move on to the heavy machinery, just follow these simple tips.
The first few times, you may want to try clipping while baby sleeps (if she’s a good sleeper) or right after a bath when nails are softest. Use clippers or scissors specifically designed for babies—they usually have a curved cutting edge. Now it’s time to clip!
Steps for clipping your newborn’s nails
- Sit baby on your lap facing away from you and talk through each step to help keep her calm; sing if you need to, or get someone try to distract the baby.
- Take one finger firmly in your hand, press down flesh under the nail to make the nail stick out a bit, and gently slide in the clipper. Be careful not to get too close or to pinch any of the flesh.
- Trim the white part of each nail, making a rounded edge.
- Smooth out any sharp or ragged edges with an emery board this may be tricky early on because babies nail’s are so thin.
Try to trim every three to four days. And don’t worry…if you do clip a bit of skin, simply rinse the cut under water and apply pressure with a cloth until the bleeding stops (and be sure to give lots of kisses).
If you’re too nervous to pick up those clippers at first, here’s a tip: Gently peel off nails (they are very thin during the first several weeks) or just nibble them with your teeth. If you really can’t imagine trimming your little one’s nails, pack up your baby clippers and bring them to your next pediatrician appointment. Your baby’s doctor should be willing to give you a proper in-person tutorial.