Your baby’s nails grow rapidly. From the first week of life until children enter the toddler stage, their fingernails and toenails seem to constantly need trimming. This is a good sign of growth. However, those sharp little nails can easily scratch your baby and should be kept at a safe length. Many new parents are a bit apprehensive about trimming their baby’s fingernails for fear of hurting them or trimming the nails too far back. Babies’ nails are fragile, but can easily and safely be trimmed by following a few simple tips.
When to Start Trimming a Baby’s Nails
A newborn’s nails should be trimmed as soon as you notice they have grown even slightly beyond the fingertips. Since babies have very little muscle control, they can easily scratch themselves simply by touching their face or playing. Most babies need to have their nails trimmed at least once a week. In some cases, you may even need to trim a baby’s nails two or three times a week, depending upon the rate of growth. A child’s nails grow very rapidly until they reach toddlerhood. Even once they have reached the toddler stage however, you may need to continue trimming your child’s nails on a frequent basis. The rate at which the nails grow often depends upon the growth rate of the child.
What to Use to Trim a Baby’s Nails
Never use adult clippers to trim a baby’s nails. Baby nail trimming kits and manicure sets generally come with baby nail clippers, scissors, a nail brush, and a nail file. Adult grooming products should never be used on a baby or young child, as they are much larger than the baby’s hands and feet and may easily cause a mishap or injury.
When to Trim a Baby’s Nails
Trimming the nails of a bawling, squalling child can present quite the challenge. You can make this task a little easier by trimming your baby’s nails at a time when they will be least likely to throw a fit. Try trimming the nails right after a bath. The warm water of the bath will have softened your baby’s nails, making them much easier to trim. Another opportune time to trim your baby’s nails is while he or she is sleeping. Since nail trimming does not cause any pain, you should be able to trim your baby’s nails without waking him. If you choose to trim your baby’s nails while he or she is awake however, you might find it easier to enlist the help of another person. Have someone hold the baby while you gently trim the fingernails.
The Best Way to Trim a Baby’s Nails
When trimming your baby’s fingernails, you should hold their finger and palm steady as you trim the nail. Trim either along the curve of the nail or straight across. If you cut the nail straight across, you should soften and round the sharp edges with a file or emery board. If your baby will sit still long enough, you may be able to avoid using clippers and scissors by simply filing the nail. Parents who are afraid of hurting their baby while trimming their nails often find this to be the best method.