Newborns' nails grow especially fast, and can require trimming up to twice a week. Luckily their toes grow more slowly and can usually be kept under control with a trim twice a month. Also, newborns' toe nails are less brittle than their fingers, so even when they get a little long, they are less likely to scratch themselves with them (the distance from foot to face also helps).
This video from Healthychildren.org is a great resource for parents looking for a "how-to" on trimming their baby's nails:
Some recommendations Healthy Children suggests are:
Trimming your baby's nails with your teeth is not recommended. This can introduce a lot of germs to your baby's nails and can cause infection.
- Trim or file baby's nails when they are asleep and their hands aren't moving as much
- After bath baby's nails are their softest, so this is also a great time to try trimming
- Push down on the fingertip skin so you can get the clipper or scissors around both sides of the nail and avoid cutting baby's finger or toe
- Finish off any sharp or rough edges with an emery board
If you do accidentally cut your baby's finger in the process, don't fret! It happens. Babycenter.com recommends using a tissue to apply a little pressure; this is usually sufficient to stop the bleeding in a couple minutes.They also recommend a child approved liquid bandage, but not a physical bandage as this can be a choking hazard.
Even though it may be challenging at first, try not to let it overwhelm you. You and your baby will, eventually, find a system or routine that works. And remember, you don't necessarily have to do them all at once, try taking a break in between hands if it's too much. There is no reason you couldn't even wait a day to do the next one.