How to Cut Baby's Nails

Mini manis do more than just make teeny hands look nice. They help prevent painful scratches. So learn how to clip your baby's nails and file away!

Baby manicure kit
Bryan McCay

Gather your tools It's safest to pick a pair of clippers or scissors that are designed for an infant's small fingers. Some come equipped with a magnifying glass, which can help with navigation. You'll also want to have a nail file to smooth over any rough edges.

Tag team You may find it easier to have someone hold your baby to help keep him still (or at least distract him). You can also offer him a toy to hold with his free hand so he doesn't lunge for you or the clippers. Even better: Clip nails when your sweetie is fast asleep.

Get a grip Hold Baby's palm and finger with one hand, and the clippers or scissors in the other. To prevent sharp edges, aim to cut along the curve of the finger in one or two motions, leaving a bit of white behind. Try to trim his nails after a bath when they're soft.

Start snipping Pull the finger pad away from the nail, and then slide the clipper or scissors underneath to cut. If you draw a bit of blood, wrap a tissue around the finger and apply light pressure. Skip a bandage: It's a choking hazard if it slips off in Baby's mouth.

Smooth things over Finish by using a nail file on the sharp edges. If your baby doesn't like the clippers or scissors but will tolerate an emery board, you can also use it to file his nails to a shorter length. If he starts to lose it, just stop and try again tomorrow.

Originally published in the American Baby "Baby Care Basics" book.

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