Being a parent is terrifying, and cutting your baby’s fingernails is an excellent example of something that can be scary as hell when you’re a new mom or dad. Sure, it sounds easy enough; until you try to do it and realize how tiny their fingers are, and how much they squirm! Luckily, the guide below can ease those fears and help any new parent become a nail clipping professional.
When should I start clipping my newborns fingernails?
Some doctors will tell you to avoid cutting your baby’s nails until they reach a certain age, but that’s mostly to avoid injury. Honestly, you can start clipping their nails as soon as they become long enough to pose a threat to your child. If you’re uncomfortable cutting their nails, you can use baby mittens, but it won’t be long before you realize that your baby is a mitten Houdini.
What should I use to clip my infants fingernails?
You can use any of the tools listed below. It’s recommended that you file a newborns nails because it eliminates the threat of accidentally cutting their small fingers. If you choose to use a file, avoid metal ones as most of those are too rugged for their pliable fingernails.
Clippers: work well but make sure you invest in a pair made especially for infants. Those will typically be equipped with safety features that won’t allow you to cut the nail too short.
Scissors: can be used to trim the nail, and work really well on an infants fingernails because they are soft enough to cut without much effort. Again, always smart to use a pair designed just for infants because a sudden movement could result in injury with a normal pair of scissors.
Nail file / Emery Board: is the safest way to manicure a young baby’s nails. Take care to avoid the delicate skin around and under the nail.
Your teeth: I always bit my newborns nails. I know a more squeamish person may not be excited about this idea, but I felt it gave me the most control over how low to clip, and I knew I was not going to accidentally hurt my child this way.
How To Clip Your Baby’s Nails?
1. Hold your child’s finger firmly in your hand. You should be able to maneuver the hand comfortably while working the clippers. If you feel like you cannot do this, have someone else help you.
2. Gently pull the skin around the nail back away from the tip of their fingernails.
3. Position the clippers or scissors and make sure you’re not going to accidentally pinch their skin.
4. Clip small sections at a time on the white part of the nail.
What do I do if I accidentally cut my baby while clipping their nails?
Don’t panic, and don’t worry. You’re not the first parent to do this, you won’t be the last, and you’re not a failure. Apply pressure with a piece of gauze or tissue until the bleeding stops. It may take a few minutes, again don’t panic.
Obviously, if it continues bleeding after a few minutes of constant pressure, it’s bleeding enough to soak through the gauze, or it is a really deep cut, you should pack up and head to the emergency room. However, if it does stop bleeding, apply some antibiotic ointment and keep an eye on it for a few days.
Do Not: put a band-aid on a small child because they could choke if it got in their mouth.
How often should I cut my baby’s nails?
As often as you need to in order to keep them from scratching themselves. You could make it a part of your weekly routine, but they may not always need to be cut that quickly. Newborns fingernails grow a little faster, so you might need to clip theirs as often as a couple of times a week.
When should a I cut my infants nails?
If you can remember to do it – and you’re not collapsed in an exhausted heap yourself – it is much easier to do it while they’re sleeping. You can move their hands around easier, and they won’t be clenching their fists.
After a bath is also a great time to clip a baby’s nails because the nail will be softer and easier to cut.
Just be careful, go slow, pay attention, and you’ll do just fine!