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How to cut your baby’s nails

adult cutting a newborn's nails

Key points:
1. Baby nails grow fast due to tiny fingers. Trim them to prevent scratching. Cut when long.
2. Cutting baby nails is easy. Calm them with singing or a toy. Trim after bath or while asleep with help.
3. Use nail clipper or baby scissors. Press fingertip back, avoid teeth. Handle blood with sterile gauze.
4. Toenails grow slower, trim 1-2 times monthly. Soft and easy to cut. Swollen, red tissue may indicate infection; consult a pediatrician.

Baby nails probably seem to grow very fast; this is due to their tiny fingers! You might be wondering if you should cut their nails, and the answer is yes! By doing so you keep your little one from scratching and hurting themselves. Remember you don’t have to cut them very often, just when you see they’re long.

How do I cut baby nails?

This can seem a bit challenging, especially if your baby moves a lot, but before you get nervous, know that their nails are so thin that cutting them should be quite easy! If your little one is awake, you can try to calm them by singing or distracting them with a toy they like. 


To avoid hurting your baby, you can cut their nails after a bath when they are relaxed and calm, or when they are asleep. The risk of cutting your baby’s nails while they are asleep is that they might wake up. If this isn’t a problem for you, go ahead! Nevertheless, if you prefer not to disturb their sleep, ask your partner or a family member to hold their hand while you cut their nails, keeping them still.

You can cut your baby’s nails using a small nail clipper or special baby scissors. A technique you can use to prevent hurting your baby is to press their fingertip back and then cut the nail. But in case you accidentally draw blood, just use a sterile gauze pad, gently apply pressure so the bleeding stops, and try not to put a bandage. Remember that you shouldn’t use your teeth to cut your baby’s nails because this can cause an infection! 

And what about toenails?

Toenails grow more slowly than fingernails, so you’ll only have to cut them once or twice a month. Baby nails at this stage are very soft and easy to cut. You can cut them the same way you cut fingernails, asking your partner or a family member to help you out if necessary.

Finally, if you notice your little one has swollen and red tissue around the fingernail or toenail, it might be a sign of an infection in their skin, so try to contact your pediatrician to see if it is an infection and how you can treat it.

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