Whether you’ve recently discovered you’re expecting or are many months into the long wait for your precious baby to make their appearance, the thought of packing a hospital bag can be a daunting one. “What to pack? What if I overpack? Even worse, what if I under-pack? How can I possibly prepare for all the unexpected surprises that no one tells you about?”. One of the many wonders new parents may encounter, with the birth of their child, is just how long their fingernails and toenails can be. For four out of the nine months of a full-term pregnancy, a baby’s nails grow; it’s possible your newborn will have longer nails than you!
Unfortunately, they won’t yet have the same degree of manual dexterity and fine motor skills, which means those tiny, razor-sharp nails can become weapons; both to themselves and to you. If those nails are not managed, both of you are likely to end up with terrible scratches, particularly after a feeding session. Heaven forbid they find their eyes during their flailing!
There are numerous ways you can tend to your baby’s nails. Many mums don’t like to cut their baby’s nails for the first couple of weeks, concerned they might tear delicate skin, and so instead, choose a lacking solution such as placing mittens on their little one’s hands. This limits the avenues through which the baby can develop spatial awareness and experience sensation, processes essential to developing connection to the world around them. Mittens are also only a short-term solution; the day will come when they will need to be removed and the nails themselves dealt with.
What about biting them? You’ll always have that method on hand and it’s the quickest and simplest solution, right? It might seem that way and you may be tempted to use your teeth but remember how delicate baby’s skin and nails will be at this point. When your biting bub’s nails, it is impossible to see what you’re doing and the risk of tearing the nails and surrounding skin is scarily high. Not only that, the germs from your mouth can then be introduced via these tiny tears and result in infection. Your child will no doubt have plenty of these as they grow up; don’t kickstart that trend early when it can be avoided!
With traditional baby nail clippers, visibility over what exactly you’re clipping is difficult, making it all too easy to clip a little too close to the skin, resulting in bleeding fingers and tears. Traditional nail scissors for young ones can feel unwieldy compared to those tiny, newborn fingers and are designed to only be used, by right-handed people! Many parents struggle to use these tools safely, without inflicting pain when bub makes a sudden movement.
For so many years, these were the only inadequate options. Recently, though, an Aussie mum, fed up with these limited choices for trimming the nails of her little ones, invented an ingenious new device called the Nail Snail.
The Nail Snail, as the name suggests, is in the shape of a snail (something which the older kids will love) and is designed with excellent visibility of the nail to ensure it is only the nail being trimmed, and not the surrounding skin. The fine, v-shaped, recessed blade follows along the natural curve of the nail and the gentle nail file helps to smooth off any rough edges. The tail of the Snail is also an under-nail cleaner. The Nail Snail is compact but easy to hold – for both left and right-handers - and gets the job done quickly and safely. The Nail Snail has even been used by the midwife team at the Gold Coast Private Hospital on babies as young as two hours old!
So when you’re packing your bag for the hospital, after you’ve put in the multiple pairs of underwear, breastfeeding bras, baby clothes and chocolate, make sure you pack a Nail Snail as well, safe in the knowledge that you have the best tool for the delicate job of trimming your precious newborn’s tiny nails.
Julia Christie & Peta McNaughton