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How to cut your baby's nails

Babies usually have fingernails from the day they are born. They can be long at birth.

Although you might feel nervous about it, you’ll need to cut them so your baby does not scratch their face.

How to cut your baby's nails

  1. Use a baby scissors, they’re easier to use - most pharmacists will have them.
  2. Hold the finger you plan to start working on first between your forefinger and thumb, use the rest of your hand to enclose the rest of your baby’s hand.
  3. Gently push back the fingertip from the nail to allow space for the scissors - this avoids nipping the skin
  4. Repeat with each finger and thumb until all the nails are cut.

Most parents accidentally nick their baby’s skin at one time or another. If this happens, don’t worry. Gently press a clean towel or gauze to the cut until the bleeding stops.

Newborn baby’s will have very soft nails in there first few days after birth. So it will be possible to gently peel the ends off with your fingers instead of using a scissors.

If you are nervous

Ask your partner or another person to hold your baby's hand while you cut the nails.

You can try cutting your baby's nails when they are asleep. Your baby may wake up during it.

Page last reviewed: 25 January 2021
Next review due: 25 January 2024

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 8.