Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Teeny Tiny Finger Nails

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How come the teeniest, tinniest nails on the planet are the ones that cause the most grief?! For most new parents, the thought of trimming their little ones nails is incredibly overwhelming and nerve-wrecking. Not only are they growing incredibly fast, but no matter how close you trim them your child still manages to scratch themselves somehow!

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 is a great resource for parents looking for a "how-to" on trimming their baby's nails:

Some recommendations Healthy Children suggests are:
  • 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
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.

If you do accidentally cut your baby's finger in the process, don't fret! It happens. 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.

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What tips do you have for trimming a newborn's nails? Do you sing to them, distract them with a favorite toy, trim them while they're feeding or in the car? Leave a comment and share your ideas!

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