Cutting your baby’s nails

baby handsThere’s no easy way of doing it. You’ve seen your baby’s fingers – they’re like cooked macaroni noodles. Still, baby’s nails need to be trimmed to keep them from scratching themselves. Here are some tips to guide you through the process.


Some experts recommend waiting until the baby is eight weeks old, which is about when the nails harden. This will also keep you from cutting the nails too far down and getting into the quick. Others suggest that you do it as soon as you bring your baby home from the hospital, but it’s totally up to you. If your baby wears mittens or onesies to keep her from scratching her face there’s no real need to rush.

Whenever you decide that you and baby are both ready for a first nail trimming, enlist the help of your spouse: one of you can keep the baby entertained and hold the other hand if necessary. Next, get the clippers or scissors, a clean, damp cloth, and a small Emory board ready.


Use the thumb of one hand and press the fingertip down and away from the nail. Place the clippers or scissors over the whitest part of the nail and gently press down until the nail is cut away. For the fingers it’s ok to follow the curve of the nail, but on toes only cut straight across to avoid ingrown nails. If you feel like you can’t use the clippers or the scissors, then just use a baby Emory board. You just have to file the nails back enough to get most of the white area off and smooth any jagged edges.

If you accidentally nip your baby’s finger, don’t take it too hard – you’re not the first parent to whom it happens. Just use the clean, damp cloth to apply pressure for a couple of minutes until the bleeding stops and continue with the rest of the nails.

One last tip: if your baby moves too much, try cutting her nails while she’s asleep (not in the dark though – you won’t be able to see what you’re doing, duh).

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