A Guide to Baby Nail Care

Babies, with their soft skin and delicate features makes it seem like they couldn’t hurt a fly.  But as any parent knows, those tiny talons HURT.  So imagine if they accidentally scratch themselves with those things.  So it’s really ideal that they be kept trimmed and tidy. Here's a guide to mastering baby nail care.

The Importance of Regular Nail Care

  • Baby nails grow fast, some parents cut their babies’ nails once every 2-3 days. Left unchecked, they can lead to scratches on their face or cause infections if dirt accumulates underneath.
  • Regular nail maintenance reduces the chance of ingrown nails.

When to Start Trimming

  • You may start trimming as early as one week after birth, as newborns come with long nails (weird, I know)
  • It's essential to establish a routine early on.  This will ensure that your baby will be used to this practice and in time, adapt this good habit!

Choosing the Right Tools

  • Use nail-cutters, nail files or any nail-cutting tool that it suitable for babies.  Best if it is made for babies and comes with safety features to prevent accidents.
  • Some parents prefer to use a baby nail file to smooth out any rough edges.

Mastering the Technique

  • Choose a time when your baby is calm.  This is usually after their bath, or during feeding.
  • Hold your baby’s hand steady with one hand, and use the other to trim. Push down on the fingertip to ensure you don't clip the skin.
  • Trim toenails straight across to prevent ingrown nails and round the nails on fingers to follow the natural curve.

Safety First

  • Always ensure you have good lighting when trimming nails.
  • If you accidentally cut the skin, don’t panic. Gently hold a soft cloth against the cut until it stops bleeding.

Natural Alternatives

  • Some parents use a soft emery board in the early weeks. It's a more time-consuming method, but some find it more reassuring that using clippers.

Regular Checks

  • Babies' nails grow quickly, so check them at least once a week. You might find that you need to trim the fingernails more often than the toenails.

One by One

  • Trimming a wriggly baby's nails can be tricky. If they're restless, it's fine to cut just one nail and tackle the rest later. Use calm moments throughout the day for this task. It might feel like a never-ending chase, but following their lead ensures safety and ease. Remember, patience is key; there's no rush to finish all at once.


Baby nail care might seem daunting, but with the right tools and techniques, it becomes a simple part of your regular routine. Your baby's safety and comfort are paramount, so take your time and make nail care a bonding experience for both of you.