Mother's Day: Treat her to a complete routine

Mother's Day: Treat her to a complete routine

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When and how to trim a baby's nails?

From birth, babies have small, fairly soft nails, but it is still advised not to touch them. It is only after a certain period of time that they will need to be regularly trimmed to prevent the child from injuring themselves. While this action is a crucial part of hygiene care, it's not always easy to know how to go about it. Here are all our tips.

Published March 4, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 5 min read

When should you trim your baby's nails?

At birth, a baby's nails are still soft, fragile, and adhered to the skin of the fingers. It is advised against cutting them during the infant's first few days of life as this could potentially damage the nail matrix and thus injure them by cutting the skin. Furthermore, it is also not recommended to remove any small pieces of skin that may peel off on the sides of the nail, as inflammation or infection can quickly occur.

It is generally recommended to start trimming a baby's nails six to eight weeks after birth. It is only from this point that the nails are strong and hard enough to tolerate trimming. Until you can shorten their nails, you can put on cotton mittens to prevent them from injuring themselves. Trimming a baby's nails is then a task to be done regularly, depending on their growth rate. Therefore, it is advised to check the length of the fingernails every week. As for toenails, a monthly trim is usually sufficient, as their growth is slower.

Tip : Babies are sometimes born with relatively long nails. In this case, it is possible to file them down with a cardboard nail file to prevent them from scratching themselves.

Practical tips for trimming your baby's nails.

It's not easy to trim a baby's nails. The little one often keeps their fists closed and tends to move in all directions. Fortunately, there are tips for safely trimming a baby's nails without causing harm.

  • When should you trim your baby's nails?

    To avoid any risk of injury, it is recommended to trim your baby's nails when they are calm. For instance, this could be during or after feeding. At this moment, the child is relaxed, soothed, and satiated. This reduces the likelihood of them making sudden movements. It's also possible to trim their nails during their nap or when they're feeling drowsy. If you trim your baby's nails after a bath, ensure they are thoroughly dry. This precaution helps to prevent the risk of fungal infections.

  • What is the best position to adopt when trimming your baby's nails?

    To trim your baby's nails, it can be convenient to place them on the changing table. You can also sit them on your lap, their back against your stomach. Gently immobilize their hand to prevent them from moving and spread their fingers, so as not to hurt them.

  • What tools should be used to trim a baby's nails?

    During the initial weeks, it is advisable to avoid using a nail clipper as the baby's nails are not yet strong enough. Instead, opt for a cardboard nail file to shorten their nails during this period, to avoid the risk of accidentally cutting their skin. After six to eight weeks, a baby's nails can be cut using round-tipped scissors or a baby nail clipper. There are several models available, each tool having its own advantages. To prevent any infection, we advise against cutting the nails too short. For added safety, it is better to cut the minimum and then file afterwards.

  • What to do in case of an accident?

    Despite the best intentions, there are times when the scissors may slip, resulting in nails being cut too short or a small piece of skin being nicked. After comforting the baby with a hug, it is crucial to disinfect the skin with an antiseptic and leave the wound exposed to air. If it does not heal after a few days or if you notice any redness or swelling, do not hesitate to consult your primary care physician.


  • NIMET K. & BIRSEN BILGEN S. Cultural Aspect of the Society: Traditional Practices of Mother and Baby Care during the Post-Partum Period and the Relevant Examples from the World. Current Pediatrics (2015).


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