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How to Trim a Baby's Nails

Ten little fingers, ten little toes. . . which translates into twenty nearly microscopic nails to trim. But fear not, it's easier to do than it sounds.


  • Step 1: Pick your moment Pick your moment. The best time to trim a baby's nails is while she's sleeping. If you have to do it while she's awake, get someone to help distract her or give her a toy to hold in the hand you aren't working on.
  • TIP: Some parents like to cut a baby's nails after a bath, when the nails are soft and the baby's relaxed and cooperative.
  • Step 2: Trim nails To trim your baby's fingernails, cut around the shape of each nail, rather than straight across, so you don't leave any sharp edges. You can usually do this in one cut with baby scissors; if you prefer to use baby clippers, do three separate clips per nail.
  • TIP: You can also use an emery board to file down your baby's nails instead of cutting them.
  • Step 3: Trim toenails Trim tiny toenails straight across.
  • Step 4: Stop bleeding If you accidentally nick a little finger or toe, don't worry: it happens! Use a sterile gauze pad to apply gentle pressure to the spot until it stops bleeding—but don't put on a bandage, which could come off and find its way into her mouth.
  • Step 5: Use emery board Use an emery board to smooth any rough edges, and wave hello to your handiwork.
  • FACT: A fetus starts growing fingernails at around 10 weeks.

You Will Need

  • A baby in need of a nail trimming
  • Baby nail clippers or baby scissors with rounded tips
  • And an emery board
  • A sterile gauze pad
  • in case you nick a little digit (optional)

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