A Complete Guide: When to Trim Newborn Nails? – Bubbable


A Complete Guide: When to Trim Newborn Nails?

Newborn babies are fragile so they come up with so many challenges for their mommies. One of those difficult challenges is trimming your newborn's nails. Baby's fingers are tiny and, particularly, your baby's nails are super soft which makes it difficult to trim.

In the first few weeks of their life, you don't necessarily need to be worried about trimming or cutting your baby's nails. You can trim off their nails with your hands as they are very soft and can easily come off. You can even put mittens or socks on their hands for safety.

Baby's hand while sleeping

After a month, their nails start growing much more quickly, and they’re quite rough and sharp at that time. Hence, they’re more prone to scratch themselves on their face with those jaggy nails due to their startle reflex. The best thing to do is to cut a newborn's nails every week as it will not only help in maintaining hygiene, but also reduce the chances of scratching.

You may feel a little uneasy at first, but as they grow older you will start to feel confident about trimming your baby's nails.

Best Time to Trim Your Baby's Nails

As a parent, you are extra careful about your child. Therefore, it's best to know when to trim your baby's nails to avoid any discomfort to yourself as well as your baby.

Make sure you and your baby are happy while trimming, as it will make the process easier for you. If your child is hungry or wants you to change their diaper, it would be best to feed them and change their diaper first as they are probably too cranky for trimming at that time. Your baby may become too fussy to let you trim their nails.

It is suggested to trim your baby's nails after a bath as their nails become much softer then or trim them while they're sleeping. If for some reason your baby tenses up, make sure you give him/her a break and calm them down before you start again.

Baby's feet while bathing

Additionally, fingernails grow faster than toenails. So you can assess the growth of your baby's nails and then decide on how often you need to cut them. Cutting every week may be recommended however if they haven't grown as much, it is best to wait until they have grown properly. Little growth will make it difficult to push the skin away from the nail.

If you feel that the growth is harming their health and skin, use mittens to prevent scratches and bleeding.

What Do You Need to Trim Your Baby's Nails?

 A baby's scissors or clippers: smaller sized clippers or scissors make it easy to cut nails and put the right amount of pressure.

A filer: baby nail file is super effective for keeping your baby’s nail smooth and in-shape.

An electric trimmer: an electric trimmer would be a long-lasting investment; an LED light is attached with it to show you what you're doing and is perfect for newborn babies as well as toddlers.

Electric Nail Trimmer

Steps Before Trimming

Before you start, make sure to gather all the tools and necessities in one place so you can easily perform your tasks without any distractions. If possible, it would be better to ask someone to hold your baby so you can easily trim those teeny tiny nails.

  • Hold their hand straight and pat down towards the front.
  • Gently push back your baby's finger so it can create space for the clipper. It lessens the chance of clipping your baby's fingertips. The little short lines will help to prevent clipping too close.
  • Also, cut the sharp corner edges giving it a clean round shape.
  • For toenails, clip straight across. Keep a firm hold on your child's foot as you clip.

 Baby's Hand with Parents Hand

As babies have very soft skin, most parents feel scared of hurting the skin of their newborn babies. Generally, parents think that their baby's nails are soft enough so instead of using nail clippers they can bite their nails. This method isn't recommended by professionals as there are many germs involved that can cause infection.

Some More Tips on Cutting Your Child's Nails

  1. File the nails

    Try to file your baby's nails with an emery board. Although it takes more time, it's the least difficult and easiest way to shorten your baby's fingernails and toenails. Many parents are advised to use that if they find clippers difficult.

  2. Use Electric baby nail scissors or clippers

    Electric baby nail clippers are safer as they do not damage your baby's cuticles or cause ingrown nails. They make trimming quick and easy.

  3. Distract and Relax

    If you choose to trim your baby's nails while they are awake, try to distract them with toys or any other item around. If they are alert they tend to clench their fist, tightening the gap between fingertips and nails which makes the process more difficult. Always appreciate them after you've completed the process.


  1. Always choose the right time to cut their nails, preferably right after they’ve had their bath or while they're asleep.
  2. Always use a baby's nail clipper or scissor. Take your newborn or toddler's age into consideration.
  3. Always choose a well-lit space to clip their nails.
  4. Avoid biting their nails.
  5. Do not make them pay attention to the trimming process.

    What if Something Goes Wrong?

    No matter how hard you try you can still cut your baby's skin. If you accidentally do so by mistake, hold on to the cut and try not to panic. Grab a cotton cloth or pad and pat down gently on your baby's nails so the bleeding stops and doesn't cause further infection. Your baby's hands are soft so they will recover quickly.

    We hope this gives you more confidence to cut your baby's nails, however, we understand that the process is difficult with newborns. Your baby has soft nails so remember once you start cutting their nails, they will eventually grow more slowly. If you're still afraid and it's your first time, you could reach out to a professional or someone in your family who already has experience. It is okay to ask for help!