How to Clip Your Baby’s Nails: Tips and Tricks

Here's how to clip your baby's nails. Read the most useful tips and tricks here on Borncute.

It’s time to start cutting your newborn’s nails and you are both nervous parents. Babies tend to scratch themselves when they cry because their sight isn’t good yet and they don’t have great control over their nervous system yet, so they end up with scratches on their faces which makes them cry. This is why most of all the long sleeve onesies, jumpers, and nightgowns have hand protectors that will cover baby’s hands to prevent them from scratching themselves. Cutting a newborn’s nails is difficult because you don’t want to cut them too short or you can hurt your child. This can also be painful if you cut their skin while you are cutting the nails. You want to make sure that your child has well-shaped fingernails and toenails so here are a few tips and tricks about cutting your baby’s nails.

Parents are going to have to cut their baby’s nails and this will be scary. This is one thing no one trains you for and suddenly you realize you don’t know what you are doing and start getting very nervous when you start cutting their nails. You can’t ignore their nails forever because babies will scratch themselves when their nails grow too long, especially during the first few months of their lives when they can’t control their flailing arms.

You can put off cutting their nails when they are first born by using clothes with cuffs or mittens that are built in or put tiny socks on their hands. When they start getting older and start finding their hands and grab things to explore, it’s a good time to keep their nails trimmed. If you fail to trim their nails, babies are more prone to skin infections from the scratches or even eye infections from scratching their eyes. It’s not a great feeling for parents either if their child scratches them.


This is what many moms use to trim their child’s nails. They use the clippers because it feels like they are cutting their own nails. Clippers are good to use on babies that are older than one month. It’s easier to see what you are doing so you can cut the nail correctly. There still is the chance of cutting the finger by accident so regular mini clippers work great. Some moms also prefer the clippers that cut from side to side, so it’s more unlikely to pinch the skin of their baby.


Scissors can sound very scary, but there are some moms that prefer using scissors. They like baby scissors because they have a blunt edge and have more control than clippers. They are a bit more expensive than clippers and files, and there still is that risk of cutting the baby’s finger. In case this happens, don’t feel guilty because this happens all of the time. Cutting baby’s nails is not an easy task, so take a deep breath, wash the finger with warm soap and water, and apply pressure using a tissue or a towel for a couple of minutes or until the bleeding stops. Don’t use a bandage because the baby can choke.


Filing is the best way to trim the baby’s nails in order to avoid cutting the fingers. Use a soft emery board, especially with newborns because there is no chance of clipping the skin in any way. Some mothers don’t think filing works well enough for their child because their nails are too soft. Filing is risk-free and is a good idea if your child is a squirmer and even if they are older and won’t sit still. Nail files are also less expensive and easy to use.

Electric Files

Electric files are always good to try if you feel the emery boards don’t work as well.  You still can’t cut the fingers using the electric file but they are more expensive. There are really no safety issues and most have a light or magnifier. This makes life a bit easier when it comes to cutting baby’s nails and it’s just another option but more expensive.


Don’t bite your child’s nails off even though it seems appears like a good idea. There are germs in your mouth and babies put their hands in their mouths. Some moms prefer to do this but please don’t because it could cause a serious viral or bacterial infection.


Please never tear their nails off either. You might tear their tiny fragile nails too short, which could cause an ingrown nail. Ingrown nails are extremely painful and your baby could get an infection.

Every mother has a different way of trimming her child’s nails. Try a few different ideas to see what works best for you and your baby. When you decide on the way that works for you, this might be frightening at first, but like everything else, this all gets easier with time.


Just remember baby’s nails grow very fast and need to be trimmed a few times a week. Toenails don’t grow as quickly and might only need to be cut a few times a month so have your spouse help you if your baby is squirming around. You can do this at their bath time when you are calming them down for bedtime. Some parents cut their baby’s nails when they are sleeping. Whatever you decide to do, make sure the lighting is appropriate and you have a firm enough hold on your child’s hand.

You have been given some great pointers on a good time to cut the baby’s nails and now you have to figure out what method works well for both you and your significant other. Just remember to cut the nails along the natural curve and don’t trim them too short so you hurt the nail bed. It’s important always to leave a bit of white showing. When kids are in kindergarten and up, make sure you stay on top of those toenails because they can curl over and start growing and looking deformed. Make sure your child always wears the right shoe size because the big toe can get an infection where the toenail has to be removed and many years of problems can follow into adulthood. Kids feet continue to grow long after they quit growing and wearing the wrong size shoe can cause heel problems as well as toe problems. Your child’s fingernails and toenails are as important as the rest of their body.