Baby’s nails grow fast, that is why it’s important to learn how to groom your baby’s nails properly to prevent scratches and other injuries. Here are pointers to help you practice.
• Buy baby-safe grooming tools. You can’t use your regular nail clipper and emery board on your baby because their nails are soft and flexible. Instead, invest in baby nail clippers, safety scissors or an emery board. Clippers are easy to use although you should be careful about pinching the skin accidentally. Nail scissors will take time to get used to, but they are safe if they have blunt edges.
• No need to trim in the first few weeks. If you have been advised by the doctor not to trim baby’s nails, you can put on mittens and socks to prevent the infant from scratching him/herself. Long-sleeved onesies can also be useful of they have fold-over cuffs.
• Trim the nails twice a week. Baby’s nails grow faster than an adult’s and are also sharp and ragged, so you will probably have to practice trimming them twice a week, especially the fingernails. The toenails grow a bit slower, so they will only need trimming at least twice a month.
• Groom your baby when he/she is relaxed. You could easily injure your baby if he/she is moving around a lot while grooming, so pick the best time to trim the nails. You can ask another person to distract the baby or you can trim the nails while baby is sleeping or feeding. You can also trim baby’s nails right after bath because the nails will be a lot softer.
• Don’t trim the nails too short. You should know by now that to avoid ingrown nails in the future, you should try not to trim too close to the skin. Clip straight across then smooth the edges with an emery board. If you cut the skin accidentally, rinse with running water and apply pressure on the area with a clean, damp cotton. Avoid placing bandages because the wound will heal fast.
• File baby’s nails. You can also use a baby emery board instead of a nail clipper or scissors. In fact, your doctor might recommend an emery board for the first few weeks instead of the scissors or clippers to avoid accidents. It’s safer for baby’s skin, but it will take more time. Avoid using a metal nail file because that can injure your baby’s skin. There are electric files that are safe for baby if you want to cut the time it takes to file the nails, but they are more expensive than the emery board.
• Don’t bite baby’s nails. Just because the nails are soft, doesn’t mean you can clip it with your teeth. Not only will it leave ragged edges, but the habit might also cause infection and injury.