How do I cut my baby’s nails?

Postnatal, Your questions

My baby is scratching his face with his nails, and I don’t want to cut them because he is so tiny. He’s two and a half weeks old and is always bringing his hands to his face. I want to put on protective mittens, but he always takes them off. Can you help? Thanks, Jeanne


Hello Jeanne,

Even if your baby is tiny, you can cut their nails as long as the finger’s skin isn’t still attached to his nails. If you can see raised skin separate from the nail, you can cut the nails using small baby scissors or nail clippers, or file his nails, avoiding sharp corners.

Ideally, you should cut their nails when your baby is sleeping on you. Place his back on your chest and support him. This will help you hold their hand solidly and control it make sure there are no sudden movements which might cause injury.

Mittens are adapted for the first week of life to avoid injuries caused by nails. But you need to stop using them so that the baby can develop their sense of touch, satisfy their suction need, and touch different things in their environment. Parents often want to have their baby wear the mittens for more extended periods because their hands seem cold on touch. But your baby isn’t cold, as their hands are extremities and are colder than the rest of the body, just like their nose and feet.

I hope this helps answer your question, Jeanne!

Talk soon,

Marie

The Baby Expert

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