Top Tips for Trimming Your Baby's Nails Safely

Article By
Rob
Published On
11 Jan, 2023
Read Time
3 minutes

Even though they're tiny, baby's nails grow fast! If left untrimmed, they can become long and sharp, and potentially scratch your little one's delicate skin.  

We know that trimming a newborn baby's nails can be a daunting task for parents, but the truth is, it's likely easier than you think. Soon, you'll be a mini mani-pedi pro!

Let's run through when and how to trim a baby's nails and cover some top tips to help keep your baby happy while you care for their tiny finger and toenails.  

When can you cut a baby's nails?

Although a newborn baby's fingernails are soft and wear down naturally, they do grow fast. This means they may need the be gently trimmed to prevent accidental scratches.

You can cut or file your baby's nails as early as their first week. From then, you can cut them as often as every three days in their first few weeks.

You'll notice that your little one's toenails grow a lot slower. Because they require slightly less maintenance, the nails on their tiny tootsies will need trimming less frequently - usually around once a month.

How to cut a baby's nails: Step-by-step

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to safely cut your baby's nails.

Team up

Two sets of hands are better than one when it comes to caring for a baby's nails. If you can, work with someone else to get the job done. One of you can hold the baby still and distract them, while the other trims or files their nails.

Get the lighting right

Make sure that you can see what you're doing clearly and that you have plenty of light.

Pick a good time

The best time to trim your baby's nails is when you're feeling alert and awake, and your baby is asleep, very calm, or feeling drowsy and ready for a snooze. It's a good idea to keep a small healthcare kit containing some nail clippers in your nappy bag. That way, you can tend to your baby's tiny nails, wherever, whenever.

Use clippers or a nail file

It's best to use a pair of specially designed baby nail scissors or clippers to care for your baby's nails. In between trims, you can file your little one's nails using an emery board to round off any rough edges.

Follow the curve

When you're clipping your baby's nails, take care not to go too low and gently snip following the natural curve of their fingernail. You can press their finger pad away from their nail to avoid cutting their skin.

Use a soft cloth pad if they bleed

Accidents happen. If you do cut your baby's skin when trimming their nails and their finger bleeds, just press a clean and soft cloth pad gently against the cut. Apply a little pressure until it stops bleeding. Try not to worry, but if you are concerned, you can contact your GP for advice.

Don't forget their toenails

Once you've cared for your little one's fingernails, check their toes to see if they need a trim. If they look a little long, remember to trim them straight across to avoid ingrown nails.

Top tips for keeping baby happy while nail trimming

It can take some time for little ones to get used to having their nails trimmed. But don't stress - there are some techniques you can use to keep them distracted and calm. These include:

  • singing to them
  • talking to them and explaining what you're doing
  • distracting them with toys
  • putting on some music or their favourite TV show
  • giving them lots of praise.