To keep a baby from scratching herself, trim her nails regularly. They grow pretty quickly, and cutting them is somewhat intimidating. There are many methods, each fairly easy to do with a little practice.
Adult nail clippers should be avoided because they have sharp edges and can nick fragile skin and can even clip the tip of the finger with little effort.
Baby Nail Clippers
Using specially designed baby nail clippers is safer for baby and less frightening for mommy. Gently hold each finger, while pulling the pad back slightly, to expose enough nail to clip the end without accidentally catching the fingertip. Toenails are equally important since her legs tend to be squirmy and may scratch the caregiver or her own arm or leg. These should be trimmed straight across. The ends and edges may be filed slightly with an emery board to remove sharp corners.
Another method to shorten her nails is with baby scissors. These are rounded on the ends so they won’t poke baby and have a slightly curved shape. Because they are short enough to maneuver easily, they are less apt to pinch the skin accidentally. Baby scissors are excellent tools for trimming both fingernails and toenails. Since her nails are tiny, a single cut may perfectly shape the nail and there will be less filing necessary.
One method that requires no equipment at all is what parent’s have done for centuries, and that is to simply bite the ends of the nails. Although germs may be passed from one to the other, if sanitation is practiced, this is a tried and true method. It might be necessary to use an emery board if the edges are jagged, but some parents prefer this method to others because they can feel where the nail ends and skin begins.
The best time to trim baby’s nails is during a calm period or when she’s asleep. If she stirs, try again in a few minutes. Babies are not roused as easily when they are in deep sleep.