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Baby Nail Care 101

One thing I’ve always disliked is cutting baby finger and toe nails.Babies are just so delicate and seem so fragile; their fingers and toes are so perfect, but so tiny. They are always in motion, one mistake and you can accidentally cut a finger (and I’ve done this before). Yet, if you don’t trim the nails, they scratch themselves up. What a dilemma.

Some babies have thin nails which can actually be peeled instead of cut. My son’s nails were this way and I was so happy. Other babies have thick nails, even during early infancy.

My second child was born in July during a heat wave and had thick nails. She also had health issues and was in and out of different hospitals her first month of life. I fished out the pair of baby ‘mittens’ I had gotten but I felt awful putting those baby mittens on her in such heat. During my pregnancy, it had seemed like such a great idea to buy those mittens ($2.25) which cover the hands of an infant and make it impossible for them to scratch themselves with their nails. I found that even on that the mittens either fell off, or if they stayed on, caused heat rash. Since she was seeing numerous doctors and was in and out of the hospital, it was weird taking her places with a face scratched up because of her nails. But the thought of clipping those nails on a barely 5 pound baby terrified me.

Then, an older experienced mom gave me a great idea. Firstly, she recommended buying the nail clippers with the large, built up handles ($2.75), not just the small nail clipper that I was using. The built up handle makes it easier to grasp and control the clippers.

She also suggested waiting until my child was sound asleep to clip her nails. I had never even thought of that! The idea is that the child is relaxed and doesn’t move so much, therefore it’s easier to clip the nails. There is also less of a risk of accidentally clipping too much nail, or part of the baby’s finger too. If your baby has thicker nails, clipping them after a bath is a great idea too as the soaking in the tub softens them.

The next time I had to trim my daughter’s nails, I used my friend’s suggestions and it went so much easier. Eventually, my children grew, and nail clipping time was less of a chore and worry for me. Until then, I kept the nail clippers in a drawer close to the crib, just in case.


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