How to Trim a Baby’s Nails

How to Trim a Baby's Nails

With a new baby, everything is scary.

Driving. Leaving the house. Folding laundry six feet away from your sleeping baby who is totally breathing. She is breathing, right? I’m just going to go check really quick. But I’m pretty certain there’s one task that strikes fear in the hearts of all new parents: clipping your newborn’s fingernails.

We welcomed baby Arlene Helen Katt on July 14. She’s 7lbs 9 oz of adorableness… with one exception.

She was born wielding 10 tiny weapons.

Like all babies, her itty bitty fingernails are paper thin, and yet so sharp you’ll need to be peeled off the ceiling after one minor poke– usually on your naked boob as you’re trying to figure out breastfeeding and already sobbing in pain. I thought about cutting them a lot, but using clippers seems too risky. So I Google “trim baby nails” and learned that you can file a baby’s nails, or even bite them with your teeth. I tried both, and neither really worked.

However, once the baby horribly scratches her face, you realize you’re the parent and keeping the kid safe is your job.

Time to trim the nails or call CPS on yourself.

About a week after her birth, I finally mustered the guts to trim baby Arlene’s nails. We ended up really liking curved cuticle scissors (these ones are perfect). They’re easier to control, and control is key when you’re trying to not physically and emotionally scar your child for life. We later discovered it was easier for the person who was holding the baby to trim her nails.

Here’s what happened when I attempted to trim our baby’s talons. I didn’t even cry! And bonus points to me for posting a video of myself 11 days after having a c-section, swollen as can be and barely able to move. Oh, the things we do for kids!

Doing most things with a baby scares the crap out of me, but that’s been the driving force behind Hey Eleanor all along. If you have a suggestion of a scary task to tackle with a baby, share it in the comments. Flying cross-country, leaving her overnight with a babysitter… I am alllll ears.

On a somewhat related note, remember press-on nails?

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Comments (3)

  • Brianna 4 years ago Reply

    I never thought to use a curved scissor clipper. Can you revisit this when Arlene is 9 months old? It’s like wrestling a wild boar. This is my current status. lol

  • April 4 years ago Reply

    Just wait until she’s a toddler! They wiggle and swat and scream and bite. I took off the tip of Nora’s thumb the other day and it was a bloody massacre. Cried my eyes out. Ah, parenthood!

  • Helen 4 years ago Reply

    I always did my son’s by biting them, because the scissors terrified me. I still sometimes bite his nails for him, even though he’s 2!

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