How To Clean Under Baby’s Nails

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There is so much to consider when it comes to baby cleanliness and healthcare that we can overlook some of the little things at first. A good example of this is baby nail care and cleaning babies’ nails. It can come as a big surprise to see just how fast a baby’s nails grow and how sharp they get. The worst-case scenario is that you notice unexplained scratches on their skin and realize it is from their own nails.

Sooner or later, you are going to have to find a way to keep these nails under control and keep them nice and clean. So, how do you clean and cut a baby’s nails in a safe and effective manner? Also, when should you start this nail care regime?


How to clean under baby’s nails?

The first step is to learn to clean under baby nails. Once you get in the habit of this with the right tool, you should be fine. It is best to use a small toothbrush or similar brush for this because of the texture and density of the bristles.

It needs to get the dirt out without being too tough. Dip the brush in some warm water with baby soap, nothing too hot or harsh. Use gentle pressure to avoid pain around the nail bed and clean the dirt away. Some parents recommend plenty of hand-to-hand contacts before you start to desensitize the skin.

Here is a video from L.Delta if you like to watch it!


Why is it so important to groom a baby’s nails?

Baby nail care is something that parents shouldn’t overlook because there are health risks associated with poor maintenance. First of all, those fingernails can grow pretty quickly and you will know yourself how easy it is to catch or break a nail when it is too long.

We can quickly deal with the rough edge with a file or clipper but babies can’t. Instead, they put themselves at risk of scratching themselves with the sharp edges if they go unnoticed. Regular cutting decreases this risk. Also, there is the risk of dirt getting under the nails and then in the child’s mouth. So, it is a good idea to clean under there regularly too.


When is it safe to cut a newborn’s nails?

You may be able to start doing this after a month, but it is fine to wait longer. With a little time, you can then move on to using nail scissors or clippers to cut the nails. Some parents prefer this because it is one quick clean motion, so less stress for the baby.

However, you need to be sure that your child isn’t going to try and pull their hand away and that the nails are hard enough to handle the blades. They will be far too soft in the first month or so. You can switch to baby nail scissors with rounded edges, or you can stick with the emery board and filing if this is more comfortable for you.


When can I file my baby’s nails?

The next step after cleaning babies’ nails is to learn how to file a baby’s nails to keep them nice and short. The good news here is that you can start very early because the file works so well on softer newborn nails. This is the best approach, to begin with before you start cutting the nails because it is safer.

A nail file may offer a strange sensation but it doesn’t pose the same risk of injury as a pair of scissors. You can work gently with a fine board to round off the edge and maintain the length. This should be fine for the first few months. Just take the time to make the situation more comfortable and less stressful for the child while they get used to it.


Don’t neglect your baby’s nail care regime.

In short, while it is important to learn how to clean under baby nails, this is just the start. You also need to get into the habit of filing or cutting the nails to keep them at a safe length with no ragged edges. With practice, you will get more confident and find the routine and tools that work for you. Don’t feel that you have to use baby nail scissors if the file works best. Just find a method where you are both clean and smiling at the end.

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This post is written and edited by Sandy who is a clinical pharmacist with over 20 years of experience specializing in pre-natal and post-natal care.