Trimming baby's nails

Bathing & Dressing   |   Age: 8 weeks 1 day


Trimming baby's nails

Thankfully, after centuries of hygienic product development, as well as the thinness of your baby’s little nails, trimming those little daggers should be relatively easy. That doesn't mean it isn't important to take care when doing so, though, both for your baby's safety and your own.

The timing

Sitting still probably isn’t exactly a hobby of your baby’s. That’s why lots of parents perform nail trimmings while their babies are asleep. You can also try trimming your baby’s nails right after bath time. Her nails will be extra soft then, and odds are that your baby herself will be relatively relaxed and happy.

The tools

For your baby’s first few weeks out of the womb, her nails should be soft enough to gently file down with an emery board. But soon enough, you’ll need a pair of baby scissors or clippers designed to tackle the tiniest digits.

The technique

Once the trimming begins, you should cut each fingernail along the curve of the finger. (Toenails can be cut straight across.) Be sure to press each nail bed away from the nail so that you can avoid cutting any skin. But if you accidentally nick a nail bed, all you have to do is wash the cut under some cool water, wrap some tissue around it, and hold the dressing in place with light pressure: this should stop any bleeding within a few minutes. Finally, when the job is done, give each nail a quick go-over with the emery board to smooth out any sharp edges and voila! You did it! And if your baby grows nails like most babies, you’ll get another chance to perfect your trimming technique within just a few days.


  • Larissa Hirsch. “Trimming Your Baby’s Nails.” Kids Health. The Nemours Foundation, October 2013. Retrieved June 28 2017.
  • “Nails, Nails Everywhere!” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 2 2009. Retrieved June 28 2017. 

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