Baby Boot Camp: Cutting Baby's Nails

Sona Charaipotra

As a new first-time mom -- yes, I'm typing this with one hand -- I'll be exploring the often stressful, always magical first six weeks of little one's life with the scoop on things like car seats, cradle cap, cuddle time, and other newborn issues in CafeMom's Baby Boot Camp.

A Newborn Baby's Hands

One of the first big challenges I had to take on as a new mom was cutting little Kavya's fingernails. Her hands and feet were beautiful, long, and lean like her father's. And yet they were so tiny and completely delicate -- lovely in a way adult hands could never be.

But her nails were already manicure-ready when she was born -- her grandpa even threatened to paint them like he did mine when I was just two days old. He refrained. Yet I could understand the instinct.

Actually bringing myself to cut them was a whole 'nother thing, though. I had a special straight-edged, safety-minded nail cutter made especially for newborns. Still, using it was intimidating. Even though she slept most of the time, Kavi was a fidgety kid right from the start. She moved around a lot. And then there was just her strength of will. Most newborns will grasp at anything. Not Kavi. She knew how to hold her palm wide open. But once she got a grip -- on the occasion that she felt like it -- it was a strong one.

I tried tentatively a few times to cut her nails early on, but chickened out. Last thing I wanted was to inflict any kind of pain on this tiny little creature. So she spent much of the first few weeks with her little paws wrapped up in mittens -- it was February after all. But when they weren't wrapped up, she would end up scratching herself. And that was just as heartbreaking.

Eventually, I sucked it up and set about cutting her long little nails. I waited till she was asleep -- that's definitely when my baby girl was most pliable. I gently took her tiny hand in mine, examined it like a scientist, and started with one straight-across trim. It wasn't so bad. Then I got another, and another. And then she woke up. But it was a start. It took several naptimes, but eventually I managed to cut Kavi's nails.

Man, they grow fast. She needs a trim at least once a week; otherwise, the telltale scratches appear. And I still have to do them while she's sleeping. But that's okay, it gives me some time to really look at her little fingers and toes, to see how much she's grown in just a few short months.

How did you learn how to cut baby's nails?


Image via LippyMcTiccy/CafeMom

Read More