The Right Timing: When Can I Clip My Newborn’s Nails
If your baby was born with long fingernails, start trimming them immediately. A newborn’s fingernails and toenails grow more quickly at this stage which is why it is always a good idea to have some baby clippers on hand. Fingernails may require trimming a few times in a week to diminish the chances of accidental self-scratching .
A baby has soft and flexible nails that are quick to grow. Because they grow unevenly, they can be sharp and ragged. During infancy, a baby’s motor skills are not quite functional which makes it easy for them to scratch their own skin. If a baby is squirming or fussing, cutting the nails may be more difficult. However, it is very possible with the right tools .
Since your newborn’s fingernails are quite small, what else can you use to trim your little one’s nails? As babies grow, special tools are necessary such as baby nail clippers, a fine emery board, or round-ended safety scissors. Refrain from using adult nail clippers as they are too sharp and may hurt your baby.
When can you cut a newborn’s nails also depends on your baby’s mood. Cut the fingernails while your baby is asleep so you will have a better grasp on your little one’s finger. If nail clipping needs to be done when your baby is awake, have another adult hold your child steady. This way, you reduce the risk of hurting your baby’s finger in the process. Another option of when can you cut a newborn’s nails is to clip the nails after giving your little one a bath. The nails are softer at this time and easier to trim.
Baby nail scissors can be used on both fingernails and toenails. It is vital to keep the nails short and smooth so your baby will not be able to hurt themselves .
When Is It Safe To Cut A Newborn’s Nails Using the Right Tools
The idea of using a pair of scissors on your little one’s nail may seem daunting. However, nails grow quickly on newborns. Avoid nibbling nails or peeling the ends of your baby’s nails as this method can cause uneven edges or you may remove part of the nail bed and cause an infection. Nibbling on nails is not hygienic and exposes babies to germs from the mouth of the nibbler .
These are tried and true methods of nail maintenance:
- Use clippers that are designed for babies. With clippers, there is the risk that you may accidentally cut the finger or a small blood vessel causing bleeding.
- Use a nail file. If you do not want to use clippers, a nail file is a good option for trimming the nails of your baby. Look for soft emery boards especially when babies are less than a month old. This prevents any accidental harm when trimming or smoothing the edges of their nails. The nails of a baby are softer, so be careful the nail does not bend and scrape the skin 
- Use nail scissors that are specially designed for babies. This is the preferred choice of many parents as they offer better control, but this does not prohibit accidents from happening. This tool has a blunt edge which offers increased confidence with use.
When Is It Safe To Cut A Newborn’s Nails – Helpful Tips For Trimming a Baby’s Nails
When to cut newborn nails and how: There are several tips to make nail trimming much easier.
- Work with plenty of light. It is crucial to cut a baby’s nails with adequate lighting to prevent any accidents.
- Trim toenails straight. When it comes to the toenails, trim them straight as this will prevent ingrown nails from occurring.
- Use the right tools. It is definitely worth investing in the right nail tools when it comes to trimming your baby’s nails. Invest in a soft emery board, nail scissors and baby clippers.
- Have someone assist you. It is not advisable to deal with your baby’s long nails on your own because there may be a lot of movement. Have your partner or someone you trust from your support network hold the baby steady as you cut the nails properly.
- Press the finger pad away from the nail. The right way to hold your baby’s finger during trimming is to press the finger pad away from the nail to avoid nicking the skin.
Distract the baby. If trimming an awake infant’s nails, find a way to distract the child. Newborns tend to clench their fists when they are awake which can cause the nails to dig into their skin. Using a toy or your voice may divert their attention.
- Trim during sleeping hours. As much as possible, perform nail care while infants are sleeping. You avoid dealing with a fussy baby and sporadic, unpredictable movements. It is possible that your child will sleep through the entire process with no squirming or crying. Even when your little one is fast asleep, make it a point to ensure that there is plenty of light to do the work.
- Stay calm. It is understandable to feel nervous when first cutting your baby’s nails. As much as possible, keep things light and relaxed, and you will find that your child will be more amenable to having their nails cut.
- Keep them warm. Cold clippers can scare your child. It is always a good idea to warm them up first by cupping them in your hands for a few minutes.
Cutting your baby’s nails is a learning curve. After a few times, you will be able to do it without fear.
When Is It Safe To Cut A Newborn’s Nails Resources: LiveStrong; When Can You Clip a Newborn’s Nails?, Gail Sessoms, December 01, 2013.
 Medline Plus; Nail care for newborns.
 Raising Children; Trimming baby nails, July 07, 2017.
 Healthy Children; Nail Care: Fingers and Toes, November 02, 2009.
 University of Florida, Health; Nail care for newborns, Danby SG, Bedwell C, Cork MJ. Neonatal skin care and toxicology. In: Eichenfield LF, Frieden IJ, Mathes EF, Zaenglein AL, eds. Neonatal and Infant Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 5., October 18, 2017.