How to Cut a Newborn's Nails

While long nails may look great on adult women, they have no place in a newborn baby’s life. Long nails can cut the baby’s skin -- as well as the parent’s -- because of how fine and sharp they can become. In addition to this, it is always a good idea to get the baby used to having his or her nails done while they are young rather than exposing them when they are older. This can reduce the stresses that they feel when they are getting ready for their lives in the world.

Making the experience pleasant

Cutting a newborn baby’s nails can be extremely stressful for both the parent and the baby. Even if this is not the first time that the parent has cut a newborn baby’s nails, it can still cause anxiety for a parent as they do not want to hurt their baby. For the baby, the sensation of the nail clipping is new and can be scary. Often, the nail clippers are cold and not as sharp as they should be. This cold sensation can upset the baby and if the nail clippers are dull the nail could be pressed out of shape, making for a difficult cut and an unpleasant sensation for the baby.

By using new infant nail clippers and by warming them up by holding them in your hand, you can greatly reduce the physical stress that your baby feels while you cut their nails. It is important to remain calm and relaxed to reduce stress to the baby since he or she will respond to your calm tone and mannerism. By keeping the experience fun and relaxing, the baby can learn to tolerate and may even eventually like having his or her nails trimmed.

Check out the How-to Guide for Newborns


It is important to remember that cutting the baby’s nails is one thing, painting the baby’s nails are another thing. It is important to the health and safety of the baby that the nails are properly trimmed. The baby will put his or her hands in his or her mouth and will scratch him or her self while playing if the nails are not properly cut. By keeping the nails properly trimmed, the risk of cutting the skin is limited as well as the risk of infection from such a cut. 

Painting the nails though does not need to be done and can become a danger. If one paints the nails, the nail polish can chip off in the baby’s mouth. This can lead to illness and an upset stomach. Painting a newborn baby’s nails also can lead to the baby spreading this paint onto her body and irritating the skin as the paint dries. 

Filing the baby’s nails is acceptable though. This process keeps the nails dull and short while protecting the baby from harm. This method is done the same way as one files their own nails. It should be noted that the baby’s hands should be washed after filing the nails to prevent the sand from the nail file from getting in his or her mouth and to rid the baby from the dust from the nails themselves.

Read More:
How to Change a Baby Girl's Diaper
How to Deal with Diaper Rash
Postpartum Guide: The Fourth Trimester

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