Babies are born with nails that grow every day and as they move around can sometimes cause self-injury to the skin and sometimes even to the cornea.
Many parents are troubled by the question when it is safe to cut the newborn’s nails and some even avoid doing so. I saw some website that mentioned that before cutting the newborn’s nails parents “should gather the courage and hope for the best” – a very “relaxing” approach for new parents.
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to provide answers and tools for parents to properly treat the baby’s nails, with no concerns in a relaxed environment.
From what age can you cut the baby’s nails?
The answer is – from birth and as frequent as necessary.
To clarify – If the baby is born with long nails, they can be cut from when he is born. Nail cutting is not painful for the baby and if done correctly, it is very safe.
I am aware that many parents try to postpone the nails cutting for when the newborn is older and some put socks on the newborn’s hands to prevent self-injuries.
I don’t see a major problem in this (some places state that this way the newborn doesn’t experience the world around him, I don’t necessary agree..) yet, there is no reason not to cut the nails at any age if done correctly and carefully. Most parents have already done more complicated things. Therefore, by keeping calm and following the right guidance, anyone can do it.
What do we need before cutting baby’s nails?
Two important principles:
• Right time and correct atmosphere
• Compatible equipment
Right time and correct atmosphere – It is obvious that approaching with scissors a crying and unsettled baby that moves a lot can injure him. Therefore, both parents and babies need to be calm.
You can cut baby’s nails when ihe is asleep. Holding of the finger will be easier and in most cases it will not wake the baby up.
In case the baby is awake, use a partner’s help to hold the baby’s finger which will make the process easier. The person holding the finger should make sure the finger or toe stays steady in case the baby suddenly moves. Also make sure there’s a good light.
Compatible equipment – Most households don’t have the compatible equipment for cutting baby’s nails. Pointed scissors should not be used at a young age. Instead, use scissors with round edges or a nail clipper suitable for babies, which can be found in any baby store. I find nail clipper with magnifying glass and similar inventions unnecessary.
How to cut baby’s nails?
Hold the baby’s finger and make sure it stays steady whilst cutting it.
The nail clipper / scissors should only touch the nail and not the skin (the person who is cutting can feel with their finger that the cutting tool doesn’t reach the skin).
In case there’s an area that still stands out or is sharp after cutting the nails, you can try cutting it again or file it with a gentle nail file.
What to do in case of an injury?
In most cases the injury will not be dramatic. Dry the area and you can also disinfect it in case of a light bleed.
In case of redness, discharge or high sensitivity or the area, you can see a Pediatrician for evaluation.
How often to cut baby’s nails?
Cut the finger and toe nails as often as necessary.
Is there a difference between toe nails and finger nails?
No. the guidelines are the same.
So, to conclude, no need to worry, as in many aspects of being a parent. Just do it safely.