How to Cut Baby Nails

It goes without saying that your bundle of joy is the softest and cutest thing you will ever find on this earth. Take some time out and take a glimpse at the tip of your baby’s fingers and tell us what do you find there? Assess the situation first, and then we’ll face the important question: how to cut baby nails?

Why, fingernails can’t be dangerous! Can they?

But as soon as they start growing (and believe me they grow really fast), your baby’s inherent Edward Scissor Hands will begin to creep its head out.

Your baby’s fingernails would probably look like this!


But once they start growing, they might appear to you like these:


Hey, you must be wondering that your kid is fast transforming into a dinosaur with sharp fingernails. That sounds spooky! Doesn’t it?


Those sharp claws could be really dangerous as they have the potential of tearing through flesh with exceptional ease.

Perhaps I have been binge watching Jurassic Park flicks way too much!

But you get what I am intending to prove here. Your baby’s fingernails and toenails are sharp.

This might not be that big a thing apparently but your newborn baby cannot control his arms and legs.

Moreover, keep in mind that your baby will also be spending majority of his time in your vicinity.

These fledgling limbs along with your baby’s claw like finger and toenails can end up scratching your face, neck or chest if you get too close.

As a matter of fact, your baby could end up hurting himself with his fingernails.

This can be avoided by ensuring that your baby’s nails are short and smooth.

Trimming your baby’s toenails and fingernails can be a frustrating job if done for the first time.

Do not fear! If you follow a well-designed strategy, it could be a piece of cake to cut your baby’s nails in the correct manner.

In this post, we are going to share with you how you can trim your baby’s toes and fingernails the right way.


Before you start trimming your baby’s fingernails and toenails, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that cutting your baby’s fingernails and toenails is as easy as it can get.

Getting your baby ready for nail trimming

I am not sure about you but what my baby loves to do is twist and writhe. And that is particularly the case when I am about to get his nails trimmed. He transforms into a huge writhing freak you will ever come across.

If your baby frustrates you in similar ways, then you will have to ensure that your baby remains still while you trim his nails. Any complacency on your part can end up damaging your baby’s soft and delicate fingers.

Here are three fabulous ways to keep your baby still and hence allowing you to trim his finger and toenails with exceptional ease.

1 – When the baby is asleep

You can get your baby’s finger and toenails trimmed while he is asleep. You just have to wait till your baby is sound asleep. This can be identified simply by the dangling limbs of your kids, his relaxed body and open and wide arms spread eagle on the bed. Your baby is highly unlikely to move an inch in this condition.


While your baby is sound asleep, hold his little fingers with one hand and hold a clipper, scissor or nail filer in the other hand.

It is crucial that you hold your baby from where you are about to cut the nails lest he may move and you end up hurting the poor little soul.

If you are enthusiastic about opting this method then, it is always handy to have a couple of nail clippers rather than a single one. You should keep a nail clipper at home and another one in the baby’s bag of diapers and other gear. This will help you get your baby’s nails trimmed whenever he is asleep even when you are having a stroll around, in the car seat or anywhere you want.

This was my preferred choice of clipping my baby’s nails for my first baby. But my second baby did not use to sleep soundly and the very moment I touched him to get his nails clipped, he would rise up crying all the while. If your baby is also a light sleeper, I have a couple of more tricks in the bag that will definitely help you to keep your baby still while trimming his nails.

2 – Divert his attention

You can easy divert your baby’s attention towards things that fascinate them. And when your baby is fixated on something else, you can quite cleverly make your move and get the toenails and fingernails trimmed.

baby divert attention to cut nails

It is quite rarely that I let my baby watch television and that is when I get his nails clipped. My baby remains still while watching television and so I grab the opportunity with both hands. Once I have done my job, the telly is switched off and if I happen to be in a different room, then I let my baby play with the iPad.

If you are averse to letting your baby view the telly, you can use other means to distract your baby. Food is another great way to divert your baby’s attention since you can get the nails trimmed or clipped while the baby is busy eating in his hangchair or nursing.

3 – Brutal force

This is the final approach that you may as well try out if you fail out miserably while attempting the previous two techniques. Your baby is never going to like this technique, though.

Lay your baby on the bed while you sit beside him and gently hold the arm or leg between your legs so that it remains still. You can then get to trim the nails.

You can also ask your husband to help you out in this terrible ordeal. I say terrible since I expect your kid will be wriggling and squirming and forcing you to let go of him in every possible way he can.

Hold your baby firm but not so firm that it hurts the baby’s feeble limbs.

Get the basics right

Before we discuss the different nail care tools, let us first discuss how to best cut your baby’s nails.

Get the lights switched on

If you are not able to see clearly, you might end up hurting your kid badly. Therefore, it is always judicious to have your baby’s nail clipping session carried out in a bright, well-illuminated area.

Make it as much fun as possible

Babies are always curious about new things. If you are cutting your baby’s nails for the first time, he is likely to be fascinated by all the nail clipping and trimming tools.

Get him interested by opening and closing the scissors or clippers. You can also get your own nails trimmed in front of him with a huge smile on your face.

Just let your baby know that clipping your nails is going to be an experience full of fun.

Do not hurry

Trimming your baby’s nails is yet another chore added to your list of chores. You might be tempted to do things in a hurry just to get all your jobs done in time.

But if you cut the nails in a hurry, the edges could be left jagged and hence even sharper than before.

Do not hurry! Take your time and remain calm!

Cutting baby fingernails

Your baby’s fingernails are not easy to cut. Whether you use a small sized nail clipper or nail scissors, it is mandatory that you employ the correct technique and a steady hand so that you do not end up hurting your baby.

You simply have to push down on the finger pad, away from the nail as you cut.

Ensure that you cut to the curve of the nail.

It will take time and practice before you get acquainted with using the nail clippers or nail scissors. At first, you might need your partner’s help in holding the baby’s hand to ensure it remains steady. Then simply push down on the nail pad with one hand and get the nail clipped with the other.

Cutting baby toenails

In contrast to fingernails that can be cut curved, you need to ensure that you cut the toenails straight across so that they are left with a flat finish.

This will help them get trained to grow straight and hence minimize the probability of ingrown nails. Ingrown nails are quite rare in babies but you don’t want to take any chance, do you?

cut baby toenails

It is crucial that you do not cut the nails too short since this can also lead to the emergence of ingrown nails. Just cut the nails so that the nail is in line with the toe.

Your baby’s toenails tend to grow slower in comparison with the fingernails so you will not be cutting them as frequently as the fingernails.

1 – How to cut the nails with a nail file

Your baby has soft fingernails, so it takes time and some effort to grind them down with a nail file. The biggest safety you get with a nail file is that it exterminates the probability of hurting your baby. If you are concerned about having your baby’s little feeble fingers hurt, then you should go for a nail file.

Step 1: Grab your baby nail file

Hold the nail file that you intend to use to grind your baby’s nails. Since your baby’s nails are small, so you should go for a compact sized emery board or glass nail file with a rounded edge.

Giraffe baby Blue Nail File is my personal favorite which has proven to be better than all the other nail files that we tested.

It is imperative that you avoid metal nail files since they can hurt your baby’s little fingers or leave a rough finish.

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Step 2: Hold the hand

With the dominant hand holding the nail file and the other one holding the baby’s hand, get your baby to be as still as possible.

Step 3: It is time to file

Employ even strokes file the baby’s finger nails from the outwards in from each side. Continue doing so until the fingernails are filed down.

How to cut the baby’s fingernails with a nail clipper

You can easily cut your baby’s fingernails and toenails with a nail clipper. Having said that, you will be required to make two or three cuts on a single nail. So nail clippers are not as efficient as some of the other nail cutting tools.

Step 1: Grab your baby nail clipper

The ideal nail clippers will be very easy to hold and the blades should be sharp so that they make a cut right through the nail rather than squashing it.

Step 2: Hold the hand

With the dominant hand holding the nail clipper and the other one holding the baby’s hand, get your baby to be as still as possible.

Step 3: Make a cut

Start cutting from one side of the nail. After clipping the nail, relocate the clippers to remove the remaining nail. You will be required to make two or three cuts. Ensure that the nails are not cut too short.

3 – How to cut your baby’s nails with a nail scissor

Nail scissors are the most accurate and efficient of all the baby nail cutting tools out there. They let you cut the entire nail in a single slice thereby providing a smooth finish.

There is no need to file your baby’s nails after you have cut them with a sharp baby nail scissors. Having said that, you ought to practice utmost care because of the naked blade exposed directly to the feeble limbs of your bundle of joy.

I prefer to use the nail scissors for cutting my baby’s nails since they let me exercise the most control over the entire nail trimming process.

Step 1: Grab your baby nails scissors

Opt a decent pair of nail scissors with blades having rounded ends so that you do not end up hurting your baby.

It is always tempting to purchase a low cost pair of scissors but a good quality pair of scissors will have blades that remain sharp for a prolonged period of time. This will render the nails trimming process easier even when the nails harden as your baby grows old.

Piyo Piyo Baby Nail Scissors are my favorites in this regard but if you have some bucks up your sleeves you might as well purchase the Swiss made Rubis Baby Nail Scissors. These are a premium pair of baby nail scissors that will last an eternity while the intricately shaped blades allow for a streamlined nail cutting process.

Step 2: Hold your baby’s hand

With the dominant hand holding the scissors, hold your baby’s hand in your other hand to keep it as still as possible.

Step 3: Make a cut

Cut from one side of the nail, until the nail is removed in a single slice. Repeat the same process for other nails.

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Frequently Asked Questions on How to Cut Baby Nails

Let’s now discuss some of the most commonly asked questions related to cutting and trimming baby’s fingernails and toenails.

When can I start cutting my baby’s nails?

Some babies have long fingernails since birth. In such a case, you will have to trim them as soon as you bring your baby home from the hospital.

Even if your bundle of joy does not have long fingernails at the time of birth, he will eventually have long ones. According to a research, baby’s fingernails grow at a rate of 0.1mm per day. While it might seem to be a rather small figure apparently, but it is sufficient to require you to trim them multiple times every week.

Numerous parents start to trim their baby’s fingernails soon after bringing them home from the hospital.

If you have reservations about cutting your baby’s finger and toenails, you can cover them with mittens or socks so that the baby does not hurt himself. You can also keep your baby draped to ensure that he is not able to bring his hands close to his face, lest he may scratch it.

How frequently should I cut them?

You should cut them as frequently as required so long he is not able to scratch himself or even you with his long finger and toenails. You might have to cut the fingernails multiple times every week while the toenails will need trimming once every couple of weeks.

If you feel that the nails are long enough to scratch you or the baby, cut or file them.

Can you peel your baby’s nails?

In the beginning, your baby has nails that are soft. As a matter of fact, they are so soft that you may as well peel them off with your fingers.

And most of the grandmothers out there would probably suggest you to nibble or peel them off to keep them short.

They would argue that in their good old days, they did not have the luxury of all these fancy contraptions to keep their baby’s finger and toenails from growing up.

Keep in mind that when you peel or nibble your baby’s nails, you do not have absolute control over the cutting process and there is always a likelihood that you will end up cutting those far more than required,

When it comes to nibbling your baby’s fingernails, it cannot get more disgusting than this, can it? You can easily pass germs to your baby but also get to eat all the dirt and grime that is resident underneath the nail. Also, biting fingernails never goes down too well in any sort of gathering.

Baby nail care scissors, clippers or files are the best possible solutions to cutting or trimming your baby’s nails.

How can I soften my baby’s nails up?

As discussed above, a baby’s fingernails are incredibly soft at the outset. But they become hard with the passage of time until they become as hard as your own nails.

It might get a bit tougher while cutting or trimming your baby’s nails when they become hard and that could worsen when your clippers or scissors are blunt.

If you find it difficult to cut your baby’s thick finger or toenails, give your baby a wash in the tub. This will comfortably soften the nails up and then you can straight away get to cut the nails since they will again become hard once they get dried up.

What if I end up cutting my baby’s fingertip?

Accidents are inevitable no matter how much care you may exercise. If you actually hurt your baby a little while cutting or trimming your baby’s nails, do not get perturbed since this can happen to a lots of parents.

Just rinse the cut under cool water and then apply pressure on the cut with a clean piece of cloth until the bleeding stops which lasts only a few minutes.

It may sound tempting to apply a bandage on the baby’s cut but this is not at all recommended. This is so because when your baby put his fingers in his mouth, the bandage may come loose and could turn into a choking hazard.

Similarly, liquid bandages are also dangerous since your baby can easily suck them off from his fingers.

If the bleeding does not stop from the cut, it is time to visit the baby’s doctor.

And this is it, folks! These were some of the ways we can cut or trim our baby’s fingernails and toenails.

If you have any such information or experience that you want to share with us regarding trimming your baby’s nails, do not hesitate at all. Leave a comment in the comments section below and we will be more than happy to discuss it further.