Having a baby often conjures up a plethora of worries. It makes sense then, that parents, and especially new parents, would have concerns regarding the care and keeping of their little one’s nails. Though your newborn will be tiny, you’ll likely be surprised to see how long their nails have become! As a result, you’ll need to know how to cut baby’s nails with scissors or clippers to keep your little one, and others, safe!

How to Cut Baby Nails With Scissors

So, can you cut nails with scissors? Yes.

But how to cut baby nails without clippers may sound daunting to many. For this reason, we’re providing a step-by-step guide on how to cut your baby’s nails with scissors the safe and easy way.

So, let’s get started.

Step-By-Step Guide to Cutting Your Baby’s Nails

Timing Matters

A calm baby is a safe baby… and a calm parent helps, too! The last thing you’ll want when cutting your little one’s nails is a squirming, wiggling baby that is disgruntled and upset. Therefore, it is wise to avoid cutting your baby’s nails when you know that he or she is hungry, sleepy or grouchy.

Feeling a bit anxious, yourself? Then it might be best to hold off. Once you’re calm, you can take on the job, but in the meantime, throw some newborn mittens on your little one to keep him or her from scratching up their face.

Gather Your Tools

Once you’ve determined that you’re ready to take on the job, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the right tools. When it comes to nail clippers vs scissors, clippers may run the risk of injury to your baby more so than scissors. For that reason, you’ll always want to make sure you grab clippers or scissors specifically designed for baby nails, such as those found in baby health care kits.

Your other options? Consider purchasing an emery board to use for filing baby nails to the desired length.

Position Your Baby

Once you’ve got your tools in place and both you and your baby are calm, it is time to position your baby for optimal success and safety.

To do this, sit your baby on your lap and face him or her away from you. For example, if you are facing the kitchen wall, your baby should also be facing the kitchen wall. This will give you a direct bird’s-eye view of your baby’s nails for a safe and effective trim. And be sure not to skip this step… neglecting to correctly position your baby could have you nicking your baby’s skin thus causing bleeding and infection.

Other options? Mums have had great success breastfeeding their babies whilst cutting their nails, and some even do it while their baby is sleeping.

Ultimately, the choice is yours!

Hold ‘Em Tight

Along with proper positioning, you’ll also want to ensure you hold your baby’s fingers tightly to the lower risk of injury.

To do this, firmly push the pads of your baby’s fingers down and away to separate the edge of the nail from your baby’s skin. Once the edge of the nail has been exposed, take the edge of your baby nail scissors or clippers and trim the nail above the white nail line.

Don’t Rush It

As you go on about this process, remain cool and take your time. There’s no need to rush… doing so could result in injury.

As you slowly trim, follow the natural curve of your baby’s nails. If your baby becomes squeamish, it is okay to stop, even if it is only for a few seconds. Once your baby recuperates, you can proceed to finish the rest of his or her nails.

If your baby never calms down or rejects the process completely, it may be wise to clip his or her nails over the course of the day, rather than in one fell swoop.

Keep Nails Level

While you will certainly want to follow the natural curvature of your baby’s nails, be careful not to curve them too much. Too much of a curve in your baby’s nails, and especially the toe nails, can cause ingrown nails to develop.

Instead, follow the natural curve of the nail, or better yet, cut the nail level and above the white nail line to prevent ingrown nails and infections from forming.

Go the Extra Mile

Remember those emery boards we discussed earlier? While they are great to use on their own for taking down baby nails, they are also great for smoothing out any jagged edges left over after scissoring or clipping your baby’s nails. This will provide a smooth and nick-free finish.

Which Is Better: Baby Nail Clippers vs. Scissors

When it comes to the tools you can use when trimming your baby’s nails, your choices come down to baby nail clippers vs scissors.

As far as nail clippers are concerned, you’ll want to make sure that you opt for the types that are made specifically for babies. These can be found in first aid kits, baby grooming sets or bought on their own.

Nail clippers, when used properly, have the advantage of having specially built in guards to help you lower the chances of nicking your baby. Some even come with LED lights, magnifying glasses, rubber grips and other cool features, although they certainly aren’t necessary to get the job done.

Another reason many parents grab for baby nail clippers? They’re familiar, effective and efficient. Just like cutting your own nails, you’ll be familiar with how the trimming process works with nail clippers, and for that alone, you might be more successful with them in the long run.

Bear in mind though, that when using baby nail clippers, you may find uneven or jagged little nails left behind. Use the emery boards mentioned earlier to smooth these jagged edges out in order to keep your little one’s nails from getting caught on clothing, blankets or even their own skin.

You may be wondering, “Can you cut nails with scissors?” as this can be a foreign concept to some. You can certainly cut your baby’s nails with scissors, but not any pair of scissors will do.

It is crucial that you select the correct pair, like the one that comes in this baby healthcare kit, in order to safely trim your baby’s delicate little nails.

You can even stash a pair or two in the nursery as your baby’s or toddler’s essentials in their room so you can grab them quickly, whenever the need presents itself.

Pros of Baby Nail Scissors

So, what are the pros of using baby scissors?

Using rounded and specially designed baby scissors for your child’s nails will leave smoother, less jagged edges than would traditional baby nail clippers.

Cons of Baby Nail Scissors

The cons?

There aren’t actually any, just your own familiarity with the tool. Many are unfamiliar with the task of clipping nails using scissors, so it will require patience and practise before getting it right.

The Verdict?

Thus, our final verdict is that you should choose the method for clipping nails that you are most comfortable with.

For some, it’ll be scissors, yet for others, it’ll be clippers.

Remember, the more calm and confident you are about the process, the safer the task will be!

FAQs: Cutting Baby’s Nails

“When can I start cutting my baby’s nails?”

Sometimes, it can be confusing to know when to cut baby nails for the first time, especially when you are a first time parent. Sure, you’d think it’d be obvious, but actually, you may find that your baby’s nails and their length are difficult to see at times, especially when it comes to their little toes.

To start, always check your baby over from birth, and yes, you should give your baby’s nails or toes a snip if they seem long. Because babies are unable to control their movements when they are young, they are much more prone to scratching their faces as they haphazardly wave their arms and legs.

Afraid to take on the job so early? We understand mum and dad. If your baby’s nails are particularly long, ask your nurse or midwife to help you with the task so that you’ll feel better equipped to do it on your own next time.

Already home from the hospital? Try giving your baby a quick bath, or soaking his or her fingers and toes in warm water. Sometimes when the nail becomes wet, it is easier to see the whites on the tips, and thus, will make them much easier to clip.

If this still makes you a bit squeamish, you could always hold off and put mittens on your baby, instead. This will also keep your baby from having cold hands throughout the day or during the night.

Be aware however, that this task will need to happen sooner, rather than later, so it is important not to put it off too long. You can even enlist the help of someone else to help keep your baby steady as you carefully snip away.

“What should I do if I accidentally cut my baby’s finger?”

When you accidentally cut your baby’s finger, it can be scary to say the least. Rather than panic, apply pressure with a clean gauze until the bleeding stops. You may also wish to rinse the area with warm water. Whatever you do, be sure not to keep any type of bandage, cloth or dressing around your baby’s cut as your baby may suck at it, or even ingest it, later on.

“Is it better to cut nails wet or dry?”

While it is true that wetting your baby’s fingers or toes can sometimes help you see the white tips of their nails more easily, that isn’t to say that cutting your baby’s nails while they are wet is always best practise.

Because your baby’s fingers and toes will likely be slippery at this point, you may find yourself less able to get a good grip for a safe clip. Moreover, cutting nails while they are wet can often leave sharp or jagged edges behind.

If you find that you need or prefer to clip your baby’s nails while they are wet, be sure to thoroughly dry your baby’s hands and feet before attempting to do so, and be sure to use an emery board afterwards, especially after using clippers, to remove any sharp edges that might remain.

“What to Do If You Cut Baby’s Nail Too Short?”

If you do end up cutting your baby’s nails too short, try not to be too hard on yourself. Do understand, though, that this may hurt for a while, as your baby’s delicate nail bed may be exposed.

After applying pressure to stop any bleeding, you may opt to apply some antiseptic cream to the area to prevent infection. Be gentle with your baby as you handle the affected finger, and over time, your baby’s nail will likely heal.

If, however, an infection develops and begins to spread, be sure to talk to your paediatrician. He or she may prescribe an antibiotic to clear the infection. Moreover, always remember to put mittens on your baby anytime you apply healing creams to prevent any of it from getting into your baby’s mouth.

“Can I use my teeth to cut my baby’s nails?”

Many mums and dads tote this as a tried and true method of getting your baby’s nails to a comfortable length, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always a wise practise.

Indeed, using your teeth to cut your baby’s nails may seem like a less daunting option but, in the long run, it could increase the risks of injury and infection.

Your mouth is full of bacteria, and it will be much easier to transfer those germs to your tiny baby’s nail beds. In the event that nicks occur or that there were pre-existing cuts or wounds on your baby’s hands, bacteria can seep into your baby’s skin, causing infection.

So, although tempting, we at Yellodoor would recommend avoiding using your teeth for reasons of caution and safety.

How to Cut Baby Nails With Scissors: Ultimately, Your Mode of Clipping Your Baby’s Nails Is Up to You!

At the end of the day, how you choose to cut your baby’s nails is up to you, and choosing either baby nail clippers or baby nail scissors depends on your preference.

While each has its own pros and cons, the most important thing that parents should focus on is timing, technique and safety.

By following the steps previously mentioned and getting a few tries under your belt, we’re certain that you’ll become a baby nail-cutting pro in no time!

Want more info? Check out this guide on how to clip your baby’s nails or, for a good laugh, check out the video below, catered towards dads that could use a little help in the baby nail cutting department!