You may have noticed that your newborn has arrived with razor-sharp nails, especially if born after their due date. It’s best to keep nails short, not only for hygiene, but also to avoid them scratching themselves with their sudden, jerky movements.
The good thing about baby’s nails is that they’re incredibly soft. The easiest way to keep them short, and to avoid them scratching themselves, is not to bite the nails, as you don’t want your germs being transferred unnecessarily. You can gently peel them away with your fingers, but need to be careful about pulling off too much. Alternatively you can file them with a clean emery board gently after a bath when the nails are soft is easiest, and/or when the baby is asleep.
Trimming your baby’s nails
If you want to trim your baby’s nails using baby nail scissors or clippers, it goes without saying that you need to do this carefully. Buy nail scissors or clippers specifically for use on babies as these have speciall rounded ends.
You’ll need to press the finger pad away from the nail to avoid nicking his skin, and keep a firm hold on his hand as you cut or clip, making sure not to cut too low, as this could cause infection – less is definitely more, particularly the first time. For fingernails, you’ll need to trim around the curve of his finger. Trim his toenails straight across.
If you accidentally nick the skin, try not to worry. Plasters are a choking risk, so gently hold a piece of clean, damp cotton wool on the cut and apply a little pressure until the bleeding stops.
You may find it easier to wait until you have another adult around to help you, so that one of you can trim, while the other holds your little wriggler still!