Baby Health

Tips for Trimming Your Baby's Nails

trimming baby nails
Babies have such tiny, soft nails that many mothers worry about giving them a trim. Here are some tips for caring and trimming your baby's nails...

Babies have such tiny, soft nails that many mothers worry about giving them a trim. Since babies have fast growing nails, the time for the first nail trimming will come very soon after you get home from the hospital. Once your baby scratches you, or himself, a few times, you will need to swallow the fear and get out the nail scissors.

The best time to do the job is when the baby is napping. Babies are squirmy and accidents are less likely to occur when the baby is asleep. Accidents can happen, even when baby is asleep. This is the biggest fear new moms have when it comes to trimming baby’s nails. It can, and does happen. You need to forgive yourself and move on.

There are a few ways you can cut baby’s nails. Most parents use either nail scissors or clippers made for babies. Don’t use adult nail clippers. They are too big, sharper than baby clippers and cutting the baby’s finger is more likely with large clippers made for adult fingers.

Whether to use clippers or scissors is really a matter of preference. With my first baby, I asked my visiting mother to cut her nails. I was nervous and figured mom had raised three children to adulthood, so she could handle the job. Well, she accidentally cut the baby’s finger in the process. After that, I used scissors for her nails and my next daughter’s. Later, I switched to clippers after I felt more confident. Use which ever implement you feel most comfortable handling.

Push down gently on the pad of his finger, under the nail. Make sure no skin is showing under the tip of the nail, so you are only cutting the nail and not his skin. Cut the nail, but not too short. You know how it feels when you break a nail or cut it too short. It hurts and you want to avoid that. If there are any rough edges after you have finished cutting the nails, you can smooth them with an emery board.

If you are really concerned about injuring the baby and don’t want to use either scissors or clippers, you can use an emery board. File the nails gently to take off any sharp edges. Continue filing until the nails are no longer sharp. Keep in mind that this method won’t last as long as cutting the nails. You will need to file them more often. Once the baby gets a little bigger, you will feel more confident and ready to try either clippers or scissors.

Accidentally cutting the baby’s finger is traumatic, especially for the parent. The best thing to do in this case is to apply firm, but gentle pressure on the area to stop the bleeding. After the bleeding has stopped, you can put a little bit of antibiotic ointment on the cut and cover it with a band aid. The helps prevent infection and pain when the finger is touched or bumped.

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