Trimming nails

This can be an unexpectedly nerve-wracking task for new parents – after all, those fingers and nails are unbelievably tiny - but keeping your baby’s nails short is well worth the time and effort

Many babies are born with surprisingly long nails, and though they are soft at first from their time in the womb, they soon harden and can cause a lot of superficial damage to your baby’s delicate skin. The “scratch mitts” sold in shops often fall off, so your best bet is to take a deep breath and clip those little nails yourself. Here are some tips to make it easier:

  • Wait until your baby’s asleep. This is probably the most important tip – a sleeping baby is a (mostly) still baby, which is important when you’re aiming a set of clippers at those tiny digits!
  • Use the right tool. Regardless of what your Nan might advise, using your teeth is not recommended – saliva does, after all, contain germs. Instead, opt for baby nail clippers or a small emery board.
  • Get a good look in. Have we mentioned that baby fingernails are tiny? Make sure you can see what you’re doing – in direct light if possible.
  • Technique is key. Hold your baby’s finger and gently press the pad of the fingertip down away from the nail. Carefully snip or file along the curve of the fingernail, taking special care not to cut too close to the quick (the pink part).
  • If you mess up, don’t panic. Virtually every well-intentioned parent has accidentally drawn blood at some point – and while you’ll no doubt feel guilty, it’s nothing to worry too much about. Just apply some gentle pressure with a clean cotton ball or pad, and the bleeding will soon stop. (A few extra cuddles may, however, be warranted!)