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Cut nails correctly for babies & toddlers

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 339 views

It Takes Time and Patience: Cutting toddler or baby nails is often a challenge. However, it is important to ensure that the offspring does not scratch itself or injure the mother while breastfeeding. From what age it is possible to cut children’s nails and what you should pay attention to with a baby manicure, read here.

When can parents cut their baby’s nails?

The nails on fingers and feet are one of the visible signs of maturity in an infant: Babies who are born around the normal due date between 38 and 42 weeks of pregnancy have longer nails than children who are born earlier. If the offspring is born after the 42nd week of pregnancy, it usually has remarkably long nails.

Normally, parents don’t have to pay much attention to their baby’s fingernails after birth. However, if the nails are relatively long, the child can scratch itself or the mother with them while breastfeeding. Therefore, for some parents, the question arises as early as childbirth as to whether and when it makes sense to cut baby’s nails?

Baby’s nails do not need to be trimmed in the first few weeks after birth. These are still very soft and usually break off by themselves. If sharp edges are still a problem, you can carefully shorten them with a glass file or remove them if they are torn.

It is also possible to gently bite the nails in the first few weeks. The lips are very sensitive and feel the transition between nail and skin very well.

When can babies’ nails be cut? It is only after about four to six weeks that the baby’s nails become harder and the transition to the cuticle is more clearly visible. Then you can cut your baby’s nails.

Instructions: Cut baby’s fingernails correctly

Toddler or baby does not make it easy to cut nails. Read how it works here:

As soon as the nails grow past the fingertips, you should trim them. This is about once a week. Use rounded baby and toddler nail scissors, baby nail clippers, or a glass file. If you have a restless child, another adult should help. It is best to cut in good light conditions.

When cutting the nails, hold your baby’s hands firmly by the fingers and gently press the fingertips down. This makes it easier for you to see where the nail ends and the nail bed begins. Use the natural shape of the nail as a guide when cutting, but do not round the nail too much.

Don’t cut the nail too short. In this way you avoid inflammation and that the nail grows into the nail bed. Therefore, always leave a little of the white edge to the nail bed. It is better to make several small cuts per finger and correct any irregularities afterwards. You can also use a baby or glass file for this. Finally, cream your hands.

Cutting nails in babies: tips and tricks

We have summarized the most important tips to ensure that your baby’s fingernails are cut as safely and relaxed as possible.

The right time

Choose the right moment for trimming the nails: Take your time for the baby manicure and don’t put yourself under pressure – otherwise the hectic pace can lead to injuries.

In order for the baby to be calm and happy, you should feed and change him beforehand. Some parents do the manicure while breastfeeding – but then the mother should not cut. A bath has also proven its worth: the baby is often a little sleepy afterwards.

The child is particularly relaxed when it sleeps. This is the ideal time to trim your child’s fingernails.

Appropriate tools

Cutting children’s nails is not always easy. Read here which utensils you need for the baby manicure.

Nail scissors, clippers, file

Special baby scissors have a rounded tip and narrower blades than conventional adult nail scissors. This reduces the risk of damaging the delicate skin around the nail. In addition, it is made of a rustproof material.

Special nail clippers and files are also suitable for baby manicures. Do not use emery boards. They are too coarse for the child’s sensitive fingernails and can injure the fingertips.

Almond oil for chipped nails

Especially in the first few weeks, the baby’s fingernails that have splintered off can also be uncomfortable for the breastfeeding mother. In this case, cream your fingernails with almond oil or an almond oil cream when breastfeeding. This makes them more supple and reduces the risk of the baby scratching itself or the mother’s breast.

No-go: pull baby socks over your hands

If the nails are too long, it can happen that the baby injures itself – small scratches on the face are not uncommon. Under no circumstances should you put gloves or baby socks on your baby to avoid cutting the nails. The hands are an important part of the sense of touch and help newborns to collect first impressions of their environment.

Instead, try to gently file or nibble the nails.

What to do in case of injuries

If the baby fidgets or the parents are under stress, injuries can quickly occur. If you cut off too much of the nail, your finger will turn red. The fingertip is then usually a little more sensitive for a few days.

If a small cut occurs, try to remain calm. Wash the injury with cool water and hold a cloth over the wound to stop the bleeding. Do not put on a patch. The baby could easily swallow it. For larger cuts, contact the pediatrician.

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