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How to Cut a Baby's Nails

Learn how to cut an infant's nails from parenting coach Tammy Gold in this Howcast baby care video.


It's really important to keep your baby's nails short. Babies are very spastic when they're born, and if they have long nails you can see that they can really do a lot of cutting to their face. This is because when they're sleeping or when they're wrapped up, their hands are very close to their face. So, what to do when the nails are very long. Number one, if you think it's too nerve wracking to deal with the nails, you can always put booties over the hands. Any baby store makes hand booties. And you can simply cover them until you get more comfortable with trimming the nails. Another way you could handle trimming the nails is to get a very soft buffer block. This can be found at any single CVS or drugstore. It's a rectangular block that's very soft. It's very, very important when dealing with babies' nails that you find the finest coarseness to either an emery board or a buffing block that you can. Because these nails are so delicate, they would not react to a traditional adults buffing block. So, if you can find a very finely ground buffing block, you don't even have to cut the nails. You can simply buff away the excess skin. If you want to be adventurous and decide to cut them, make sure you have someone who can help you or you're comfortable doing it by yourself, by holding the baby's hand very still and very taught, and cutting slowly at an angle with a very tiny infant clipper. It's never good to use an adult clipper on infant hands because their nails are so tiny. You always want to err in caution when doing nails. So, cut as little as you can and you can always do a bit more. If you do too much and cut the baby that can be worse than having long nails. So, try putting mitts on, buffing with a very soft buffing block or clipping the nails on an angle very slowly while holding the baby's hand very taut. If you can enlist the help of a partner or a friend for that first clip, it may be helpful because usually the babies are crying because their hand is being held. They're not crying because they're in pain, they're just crying because someone's holding their hand down. So, take your time, take a deep breath and try to do your best to remove the excess nail from their hand.

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