Infant Nail Care
By Dana Sullivan
Trimming a wiggly baby's tiny fingernails and toenails can be an
exercise in frustration -- and fear that you'll nick her sensitive skin
with the clippers. However, your newborn's fingernails should be
trimmed about once a week, and her toenails once a month, to prevent
her from scratching herself and others.
Ideally, the best time
for baby's manicure and pedicure is after her bath. Baby's nails are
softened from the bath, making them easy to cut. If your baby won't sit
still, snip nails during naptime.
To keep nails neat and smooth, follow these simple tips:
- Using baby nail clippers or blunt-nosed scissors, follow the
natural curve of the fingernail, but cut toenails straight across (if
using clippers or scissors makes you uneasy, you can also file baby's
nails with a soft emery board).
- To avoid pinching or cutting her skin with the clippers, push
the pad of the finger or toe down and away from the nail while you
- If you do accidentally nick your baby's skin, apply a bit of
pressure to the cut with a piece of sterile gauze until the bleeding
stops, and then dab on some antibiotic ointment.
- If she won't sit still, have another adult hold your infant, gently holding her arm still while you work on her nails.
- An infected or ingrown nail will look red and inflamed around
the edge, and the skin around the nail may feel hard. It will probably
hurt when touched. Holding warm compresses on the nail may help clear
up the problem, but be sure to tell your pediatrician about it in case
it requires additional treatment, such as antibiotics.