Basic Baby Care – How to clip a baby’s nails

This is the third post in the series on Basic Baby Care. You can read the introduction to the series here.

The first post was on how to change a diaper.

The second post was on how to hold a baby. 

Clipping nails

I don’t even like to cut my own nails, so clipping my baby’s nails to this day causes me a great deal of stress. They squirm, cry, and do everything they can to get away from you. It isn’t a fun experience, but when unattended, those little nails are like tiny razors that leave their face and yours full of scratches. It isn’t that hard to do after you’ve done it a few times, but it always needs to be done with a bit of sensitivity.

  • Get a good hold on the baby. I like to place the baby on my lap and cross one leg over to my other knee, which locks my baby into a secure spot.
  • While clipping, talk or sing for distraction. Often times, I’m so focused on clipping the nails that I forget to interact, but the more I talk and sing in a soothing way, the better able the baby is to deal with the uncomfortableness of the situation.
  • Make sure you have a good set of clippers. They are usually not that expensive, so toss out ones that are getting dull.
  • Before you clip, spread out the baby’s hands on your hand.
  • Gently pull down the space between the baby’s nail and the finger.
  • Don’t clip too far in. You shouldn’t be able to see the pink part of the finger after you clip.
  • You are supposed to cut straight across, but I always slight round the nail slightly so we don’t get scratched later..


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