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How To Cut Your Baby’s Nails Without Hurting Your Baby?

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  • November 2, 2020
  • MKB Team

About baby’s nails

Trimming your baby’s nails is among one of the scariest firsts you’ll experience as a new mother. Believe us, you are not alone! Doing anything that could hurt your child is not easy, and comes with a lot of hesitation. 

Though it may seem easy, many may wonder how to cut baby nails efficiently without putting the baby through any hassle. It is important to cut your baby’s nails to prevent her from scratching herself or you when they are grown. Also, it is one of the most important and overlooked steps in baby grooming as long nails can become home to dust, dirt, and bacteria which your baby may then ingest.

You might have gotten advice from your parents or others on how to cut newborn baby nails, to either peel of the overgrown nail or just nibble it with your teeth. Both are not advisable. Chewing your baby’s nails will transfer germs from you onto her nails which she may ingest. Peeling off a nail can risk removing more than you intended, causing it to bleed.

When to cut a baby’s nails? 

Parents frequently ask how often they need to cut their baby’s nails. Though this depends on how fast your baby’s nails grow, fingernails require a trim at least once a week, while some babies may need trimming 2-3 times a week.

Toenails grow slower than fingernails and require a trim only about once a month in most cases.

Cutting your baby’s nails- General guidelines:

  • Ensure that your baby is comfortable and not too restless. Place her in a rocker, on your lap, or do it when she is lying down, depending on what suits you and her the best. Choose a time that works for you, when your baby is awake, feeding or asleep. If you need your partner's help to keep her still, it can be both reassuring and helpful. 
  • Visibility. There needs to be sufficient light to prevent nicks or cuts. Even if they are sleeping, make sure you have a lamp overhead when you are navigating their tiny fingers.
  • Keep your baby as still as possible. Babies might get anxious and try to pull away. Talk or sing to them if you need to calm them down. 
  • Use a nail file or emery board to soften any sharp edges.
  • Baby nails are softer after a bath. After a bath, it may be possible to cut one end of the nail and slowly peel it off.
  • There are many devices to choose from to cut your baby’s nails:
    • Nail cutter for babies: Mini-clippers made especially for babies is the go-to method for most mothers as they are less likely to cause nicks and cuts. Many mothers even use adult clippers to cut baby nails with ease. This could be one of the best ways to cut baby nails. 
    • Baby scissors: These have blunt edges and give you better visibility while cutting.
    • Nail file for babies: Nail files are useful for babies under the age of one, experts say. However, mothers have reported baby nail files being useless on their newborn’s nails. Filing also helps to trim off the sharp edges after cutting their nails.

How to cut newborn baby nails?

Here is a step by step guide to cut your baby’s nails:

  • Hold the finger in position with a firm yet gentle grip.
  • Gently push back the finger tip from the nail to give room for your clipper or scissors.
  • Make short little clips on the finger nail just above the nail line. If required you can follow that up with a nail file to smoothen the sharp edges.
  • Go straight for the toe nails. A straight trim is enough for Her toe nails.

What to do if you accidentally cut your baby’s skin?

If you draw some blood while cutting your baby’s nails, don’t worry yourself sick. It happens to the most experienced and it’s not your fault. You can run her finger under cold water and then place a clean, wet, and lint-free gauze on the wound. Keep it in place applying gentle pressure for a few minutes and the bleeding should stop. Do not put a bandage on the wound as this may come off and become a choking hazard for the baby. 

What shape should my baby’s nails be?

While fingernails can be cut with a small curve along the nail line, toenails can be kept straight. Avoid cutting down the sides of the toe nails as this can cause ingrowth of the nails. Also don’t dig too deep along the sides, as this may infect the nail.

Still too wary of cutting your little one’s tiny nails? Here are some alternatives and tips to cut your baby’s nails:

  • Make your baby wear mittens to prevent her from scratching herself.
  • Ask an experienced parent to help you out.
  • Ask your partner or nanny to be present when you are cutting your baby’s nails to keep her distracted and calm.
  • A sleeping baby is the most cooperative for nail-cutting. Carry a nail-cutter in your diaper bag to seize the opportunity when your baby falls asleep.

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MKB Team

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