How to Trim Your Baby’s Nails

Babies have tiny, sharp little nails that grow incredibly fast. Keeping them trimmed is often a challenge for new parents, and can be a little scary. It’s important however to do it regularly, as babies can scratch their faces and even their eyes; not to mention they can scratch you as well. With the right tools and a few easy tips, you can make sure it goes smoothly every time.

Selecting Nail Clippers and Files

When choosing tools for trimming your baby’s nails, you will want to keep a few things in mind. Pick clippers with a comfortable, easy to hold non-slip grip. Some clippers even have a small magnifying glass or a built-in light to allow you to better see those tiny nails. There are nail files available specifically for baby nails, and they are probably the best choice. Make sure the file isn’t too rough that it might damage the skin on baby’s delicate fingertips.

Choose the Time and Place

The best time to trim your baby’s nails is when she is sleepy or relaxed. She will be less likely to wiggle or squirm when she isn’t too active. Some parents even find it easiest to get the job done when the baby is asleep; however, you do run the risk of waking the baby. A good time is after a meal or play time when she is feeling tired, but also calm and happy.

You should always trim your baby’s nails in a well-lit room where you can really see what you are doing. If she dislikes having her nails trimmed, enlist the help of a second person to keep her distracted by talking to her or showing her a fun toy.

Nail Trimming Procedure

Sit comfortably with baby in your lap, facing out, which gives the best access to baby’s fingernails. Hold his hand in yours with the finger you are working on between the thumb and forefinger of one hand, while the other operates the clippers. Make sure that your grip is firm enough that any sudden motion the baby makes won’t cause you to lose control and accidentally clip his skin, but not too tight that it is uncomfortable for him. Take your time, and take a break between hands if your baby won’t sit still long enough.

Toenails don’t need trimming quite as often, as they don’t tend to grow as fast and are worn down by contact with socks. They also aren’t as likely to scratch your baby or anyone else. Still, it needs to be done on a regular basis. To get at those little toenails, try lying baby across your lap, or lying him down on the floor or couch with his feet on your lap. Again hold each toe between thumb and forefinger as you trim.

After clipping, gently file down any sharp corners the clippers may have left behind. Run your finger over the nail to ensure it’s completely smooth.

If the nail clippers make you nervous, you can do the entire job with the file. It might take a little longer, so be sure your baby is in the right mood to be patient. Gently file in the same direction as a slight angle until the nail is short enough and smooth.

After you have been trimming baby’s nails for a while, you will find it goes faster and becomes easier. As his little hands get bigger, you will be able to see the nails better, and with time you will become more confident.

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