Baby Hygiene

From Piercing to Pedicures

Pointers on Piercing

Many parents love the look of a little girl with pierced ears. Most pediatricians would prefer that kids not wear earrings until they're 3 or 4 because they're a choking hazard, says Sarah Dumond, MD, a pediatrician in Charlotte, North Carolina. "But for many, it's a cultural tradition."

If you choose to pierce baby's ears, wait until she's at least 6 months. "If a baby under 1 month gets a fever resulting from an infection, a series of invasive tests is required," says Dr. Dumond. Ask your doctor if her office does ear piercing -- many do. "The places in the mall have to meet health standards, but they may not be skilled at dealing with squirmy babies," Dr. Dumond says.

Giving Manicures and Pedicures

It's nerve-racking clipping a baby's nails, but don't put it off. A newborn's nails grow quickly, and he'll scratch himself if you let his nails get too long. Try trimming right after a bath when nails are soft or when baby is sleeping. One person should hold the baby while the other one cuts.

Use rounded nail scissors or baby nail clippers. Trim the nail in a curved fashion that follows the nail's shape. Press the tip of the finger back to avoid cutting the skin. Too scary? Use an emery board to file nails instead of cutting.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, August 2005.

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