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How to Trim Your Baby's Nails?

Team AckoFeb 8, 2024

As a parent, you do everything to keep your baby safe and guarded from the infections that can attack your baby. Trimming your baby’s nails is one of the tasks you have to do. Like every other parent, do you wonder “How to trim your baby’s nails?” Does the thought of cutting them frighten you? Do you ponder on the question of how to do it without hurting her?  



All these thoughts can gush into your head, but the task of trimming your baby’s nails is not daunting at all. It is important to trim your baby’s nails regularly to avoid dirt from accumulating in them and to prevent the chances of infection. Trimming you baby’s nails can also avoid scratches. 

Why to trim your baby’s nails: 

Your baby’s nails grow at a startling rate during the first few months and years of her life. You may cut her nails today and notice a few days later that her nails have grown back. Your baby’s fingernails grow faster than her toenails. That is why; you may have to trim them weekly or even more frequently. Toenails don't need cutting quite as often. You might think that those tiny nails are soft and flimsy but they can be very sharp and hence wounding. That is why it is important to trim your baby’s nails regularly to prevent her from accidental scratches. 

There are a few simple tricks and tips to keep in mind before you trim those teeny-tiny nails.

How to trim your baby's nails?

There are some things to keep in mind before you start trimming her nails. The main thing is to make sure that the area where you will trim her nails is well-lit. Your baby should not be fussy or in a bad mood.

Clip while baby sleeps

One of the best times to trim your baby’s nails is when she’s asleep. This is the time when she’s calm and won’t twitch or jerk around. If you’re fortunate, your baby will sleep right through it. It is important to keep in mind that even though your baby is sleeping, you should make sure the area has sufficient amount of light.

File them down with emery board

For newborns, doctors will suggest you to use an emery board instead of a nail clipper. As the nails are very soft and can be easily filed, emery board is the best option. Using an emery board is the easiest and the safest method to trim your baby’s nails. Yes, it may be time consuming but using an emery board will prevent accidental clipping of the skin. It will give you a good practice of shaping her nails and maintaining a firm grasp of her. It is better not to use metal emery board as it can be too rough for your baby’s tender skin. You should also be careful about not filing down the tender skin under the nail bed. 

Use a baby nail clipper

It is important to only use a baby nail clipper or a pair of baby scissors to trim those tiny nails. You may think that ordinary nail cutters or scissors will work but this can lead to accidental clipping of skin or the tip of a finger. Cut the baby’s nail as if it’s your own; be as gentle as you can. Push the finger back of the nail to make space for the nail clipper. Short clippings above the white nail will prevent clipping too close and help avoid any incidence of nicking your baby’s skin. For toenails, clip straight across. Hold your baby’s hand or foot firmly during the whole process. You can also use scissor-shaped clippers or manicure scissors. If there are rough edges, use an emery board to smoothen it.

Distract and keep her relaxed

If you choose to cut your baby’s nails while she is awake, make sure that she is calm and in a good mood. You should distract her. When a newborn is alert, she tends to clench her fists, tightening the gap between her fingertip and nail. This can make the task of trimming her nails more strenuous. That is why you should make sure that your baby is as relaxed as possible. Singing her favourite song can help. You can also show her a rattle or a musical toy to divert her attention from nail trimming.

Additional help for trimming those tiny nails

Here are some additional pointers on how to trim your baby's nails:

Seek help

Your baby may wake up in the middle of a nail trim. She may start fussing and may not stay still. In this situation, to ensure that you don’t harm her you can ask your partner to hold or distract her if she is wriggling too much. You can also ask a seasoned parent to help you with the task. Sometimes, trimming nails can be a favourite of your parents or an uncle or aunt. Handing over the task to them will remove your burden.

Trim after bath

A good time to trim your baby’s nails is after a bath. After taking a bath, her nails will be soft and will make it easier for you to trim them. You can easily trim the nails using an emery board too. The baby will also be in a relaxed state of mind.

Put on mittens

If your baby’s nails are particularly sharp and you can’t cut it at the moment, just put on mittens on her hands. This will prevent her from scratching, especially when she is sleeping. This is a short-term solution for the task of trimming your baby’s nails.

Some parents bite their baby’s nails but this is not recommended as it can introduce germs and leave the nails ragged. It is also easy to bite off the baby’s skin.

How to trim your baby's nails: What if you hurt your baby?

If the worst happens and you nick a finger or toe, don’t panic. It is only human to make mistakes like these. During this situation, just rinse the cut with cool water and cover the cut with sterile gauze or cloth. Then apply a little pressure and hold it briefly. The bleeding usually stops quickly. You can apply some antibiotic cream, but avoid bandages, which could cause your baby to choke. Take help during a situation to keep the baby calm and relaxed. You can take her to the doctor if necessary. There is no reason for you to fret or worry.

These tips and tricks can really make the once petrifying task very easy for you. Trimming your baby’s nails should not be a problem anymore. 

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, based on industry experience and secondary sources. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a qualified expert for health or insurance-related decisions. Content is subject to change, refer to current policy wordings for specific ACKO details.



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