How to Cut a Newborns Nails

Full-term babies can have rather long fingernails when they are born; the nails have been growing right along with the rest of them for quite a while. If you give birth in a hospital, it may surprise you to learn that the nurses will probably not cut the baby’s nails. This procedure poses some minimal risk to the child and if performed would be classified as minor surgery! It is the new parents who will be cutting the child’s nails for the first time and of course thereafter.

Use the kind of nail trimmer you are most comfortable using on yourself, whether nail scissors or clippers. You will have the greatest comfort level and dexterity with familiar equipment. That said, you may want to invest in a smaller set of those scissors or clippers for the baby’s tiny, flexible nails. Baby manicure sets are available for purchase, or you might receive one at your baby shower.

How to cut a newborn’s nails

1) Make sure the light is good where you will be working.

2) Start by feeding and burping the baby. If necessary, change the diaper and wash your hands. Now the baby is calm and sleepy, which is what you want.

3) Sit the baby on your lap facing away from you. Hold each hand still and trim the fingernails with your chosen tool, being careful of course to avoid the pink quick.

4) When you are done with the fingers, wrap the baby’s arms and torso in a blanket, leaving the legs free. The baby will probably finish falling asleep at this point.

5) Lay the sleeping baby down on a safe surface and trim the toenails straight across.

6) When you are done, wrap up those little legs and feet in the blanket.

If the baby starts to become more alert and fuss while you are cutting the nails, you can always stop and continue later. Babies sometimes scratch themselves with long fingernails, but it is more important that they not wiggle during their mani/pedi so that you do not accidentally hurt them with the scissors or clippers. Trimming long toenails is less urgent unless the nails become ingrown or snag on fabrics. Toenails also usually do not grow as fast as fingernails.

Compared to adult nails, though, baby nails do grow quickly! It reflects how rapidly the rest of your little one is growing and developing. Over time their growth rate will slow and you will not need to cut their nails quite so often. One day you may have a seven year old who wants to do the job himself, and you will look back and treasure memories of caring for your newborn.