How to Clip Your Baby's Fingernails: Are You Doing It Right?

Updated on June 18, 2018
mireland19 profile image

Meagan is a mother to two young children, a freelance writer, and a waitress. She has spent countless hours trying to stretch a dollar.

We watch in amazement as our newborns wrap their tiny fingers around our much bigger ones, and we never imagine that those same little fingers could be a potential danger, but when not cared for properly, their fingernails do pose a threat. It’s okay to be nervous—most new parents are—but the tips and tricks below can help calm those fears, and teach you how to trim your infant's fingernails correctly.

When Should I Start Cutting My Newborns Fingernails?

It’s important to start clipping your infant's fingernails as soon as they are long enough to scratch your baby’s delicate skin. Many parents put it off because they’re afraid they might hurt their child, but waiting could hurt them more. Besides the risk of scratching themselves, not cutting their nails could lead to a very painful ingrown fingernail.

How Often Should I Trim My Baby’s Fingernails?

How often you have to trim your infant's nails depends on how quickly they grow. Most parents have to trim their child’s nails every 1-2 weeks, but a newborn's nails may grow more quickly. You shouldn’t have to cut their toenails unless they become problematic, because they do not grow as fast.

How to Cut Your Newborns Fingernails

The most common way to trim fingernails is with nail clippers, and they make clippers especially for babies. It’s recommended to use a pair of clippers designed especially for infants because they're less dangerous. Using a pair made for adults could result in a nasty cut.

How To Cut Your Infants Nails

  1. Hold your child’s finger firmly in your hand. Ask someone for help if you cannot hold the hand and work the clippers effectively by yourself.
  2. Gently pull the finger pad away from the top of the nail.
  3. Position the clippers so that you’re only cutting a tiny amount of the nail, and make sure you won’t pinch any skin in the process.
  4. Clip the nail.
  5. Repeat steps until nails are short enough to not scratch your baby.

If the thought of clipping your infant's nails makes you uncomfortable, you can file them down instead. This method is safer. but takes a little longer so a younger child may get impatient. Use an emery board to gently file while being careful to avoid the delicate skin under the nail. Do not use a metal nail-file because they're too harsh for a newborn's fingernails.

Tips for Clipping an Infants Fingernails

Relax: if you’re tense, your baby will be too, and when a baby is tense they tend to clench their fists. This will make cutting their nails much more difficult.

Sleeping: if you can, try to clip their nails while they are asleep. This way you can manipulate their fingers more easily.

Bath time: after a bath is the best time to clip their nails because they will be softest and most pliable.

What Should I Do if I Cut My Baby’s Finger When Clipping Their Nails?

Listen, it happens, and it won’t be the end of the world, but you should take some precautions after you cut your baby’s finger. Apply pressure to the nick until you notice the bleeding has stopped. Neosporin or another ointment can help it from becoming infected but you should avoid band-aids because of the potential choking hazard.

How did you clip your baby's nails the first time?

See results

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Meagan Ireland

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Larry Fish profile image

        Larry W Fish 

        5 months ago from Raleigh

        I haven't clipped my baby's fingernails in nearly 45 years. I can't even remember back that far. I hope they were clipped right.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wehavekids.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://wehavekids.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)