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How to Trim Your Baby’s Nails

The first time a new parent goes to trim their baby’s nails can be surprisingly nerve-racking. You are using a cutting tool extremely close to tiny, wiggly fingers with delicate skin. Just the thought of accidentally cutting those fingers can make you shudder. Fortunately, there are a few strategies that can make this task a little easier.

Many parents find it easiest to cut nails when their baby is asleep. That way, there is less chance of wiggling and pulling. Gently press the pad of the finger away from the nail and cut along the curve of the finger. When trimming toes, cut the nail straight across to avoid ingrown nails. You can use an infant nail clipper or baby scissors. If nails need trimming while the baby is awake, enlist the help of a friend to hold the baby still while you get the job done.

If you end up with sharp corners on the nails, carefully file them smooth with an emery board. Some parents prefer to use only an emery board while the baby is very small to completely avoid any chance of cutting fingers instead of nails.

Back in your grandparents\’ day, mothers often bit off the soft fingernails, but this is not recommended. It is hard to tell how far down the nail is being taken off, and you can transfer germs that may cause infection or make your baby sick. Stick to using the proper tool for the job.

In the event that you accidentally cut the baby\’s finger, wash the cut and apply pressure with a clean tissue until the bleeding stops. This should only take a couple of minutes. Do not use Band-Aids because they are likely to come off in the baby\’s mouth, creating a choking hazard.


  • KidsHealth.org
  • Baby Basics Trimming Your Baby’s Nails.

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