Learn how to trim a baby’s nails and get other tips for new baby care from Huggies.com
You've tackled diapering and burping, but you’re not sure how you’re going to trim those itty-bitty nails. Follow these handy pointers from an expert who knows.
Trim frequently. "The biggest mistake I see parents make is not trimming enough," says Nancy Hamm, managing director of Newborn Care Specialist Association in Phoenix, Arizona, who has 20-plus years experience caring for infants. "I’ve shown up to work at homes and seen babies with scratches all over their faces." The rule of thumb (and pointer and pinkie): Trim every couple of days—newborn nails grow fast.
Skip the clippers for now. They’re tricky to use on newborn fingers; wait until your child’s about three months old or so. In the meantime, Hamm recommends a baby nail file (an adult file is too rough). "I usually trim my son’s nails in the evening, when he’s tuckered out and won't flail around," says Nicole Atkinson, a mom of two in Towson, Maryland. "I do it in my living room because the light is good, and I let him have a pacifier to distract and soothe him while I do it."
Do a sleep mani-pedi. It’s about 100 percent easier to smooth babies’ nails as they snooze. "I liked to trim nails right after breastfeeding, when my baby was content and drifting off to sleep," says Catherine Hetzel, a mom of six in Crowley, Louisiana. "I would lay my babies on a nursing pillow in a football hold and tend to their nails."
Skip the mitts. Try to avoid covering your baby’s hands with little mitts or gloves. "Newborns use their hands as their eyes and they need to touch their own skin and yours for sensory perception—it’s how they explore their world," says Hamm. "If their nails are smooth and short, then they can explore safely without scratching themselves—or you!"
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