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Cutting Baby Nails

When a baby is born, their nails adhere closely to the skin, making them difficult to cut. The recommended guideline is to wait three to four weeks after birth before cutting. If you want to leave it longer then that’s fine too, there are no hard and fast rules.

In preparation, clean the baby’s hands, feet, and nails during regular bathing. Unless you can easily see the separation between nail and flesh, avoid using nail scissors. The best option is to use a special nail file designed for babies. Use the nail file or emery board to shorten and smooth the nails as a first step. If they are still too long, trim carefully with baby nail scissors that have blunt rounded tips or baby nail clippers. Do NOT use adult-sized nail clippers or scissors. A child-safe baby grooming set is the ticket.

It may be easier to cut your newborn’s nails if you have someone to help you. Press your baby’s finger pad away from the nail to avoid nicking the skin, and keep a firm hold on his hand as you cut, file or clip. Cut or file the nail around the curve of the finger, and toenails straight across.

If you accidentally draw blood (a common occurrence with fussy, fidgeting babies), don’t worry. Using a sterile gauze pad, gently apply pressure to stop the bleeding. But don’t put a bandage around the tiny cut — babies love to put their fingers in their mouths and can dislodge the bandage and choke on it.