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4 Tips for Easy Infant Nail Care

by Marnie Bii | January 4th, 2016 | Care, Infants/Toddlers

infant hand (400x400)As you cuddle your perfect bundle of joy for the first time, you might be surprised to see that his or her nails are already in dire need of a trim. Infants often grab onto their face and body due to incomplete spatial development, which can result in deep scratches when the nails are too long. These scratches can even leave tiny scars long after the damage heals. Although you can use mittens to prevent most of the scratch marks, your infant will need that nail trim sooner than later. Here are four tips to help you through this daunting task.

Wait for Sleep

Despite fears to the contrary, infants actually sleep pretty deeply, especially when resting comfortably with a full belly. You can take advantage of the deep sleep by performing all of the nail care sessions during naptime. You can rest your infant in your lap or use a nursing pillow for support. Take your time and only trim one finger or toenail every few moments. If your infant starts to wake up, quietly take a break and wait for him or her to fall back asleep before resuming.

Pick Your Method

When you clip your infant’s nails, it is wise to avoid fingernail clippers designed for adults. The clipper edges are too sharp and splayed wide open to safely trim infant fingernails. Thankfully, your infant’s nails are paper thin, so it is not necessary to use such heavy duty equipment.

If you prefer to use clippers, you can pick up nail scissors or clipping tools designed for infants. These tools often have a magnifying glass attached to help you see up close as you make the tiny cuts.You can avoid clipping tools altogether by using a low grit nail file to remove excess nail material. Many infants have thin enough nails that you can gently peel the edges off using your fingernails. For this method, make sure to start the peel a 1/4 inch from the tip of your infant’s finger. The nail should pull across evenly as you gently push the nail with your fingertip.

Try to Relax

If you are riled up, your infant may catch on to your discomfort and start to wail. You must take a deep breath and work slowly to avoid feeling stressed out. There is no time limit on the clipping process. If you feel worked up, just take a break. You can trim one to two nails at each nap to complete the process in just a few days’ time.

Plan Weekly Sessions

Your infant’s fingernails will likely grow back to their long length within a week or two after finishing the first trim. Toenails take a little bit longer to grow back, and pose less of a risk for causing scratches. Plan to check your infant’s nails once a week to keep up on this important chore. Before long, you will become quick and adept at nail trims, turning it into a five minute task easily completed after bath time.

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