When Do I Use A Baby Nail Trimmer?
Newborn nails are very soft, but also very sharp, meaning in most cases, you will need to use a baby nail trimmer within their first few days of life.
For those blessed enough to be having a baby or caring for one, nail care is an important task that is often overlooked. A surprising fact is when a baby's nails start growing. A baby has actually spent the last few months growing them in utero. Your baby's fingernail and toenail beds begin to form at week 11, with the nails themselves starting to grow at week 12.
Why Is Baby Nail Care So Important?
Even though those tiny nails are thin and flexible, a newborns’ nails can cause injury to both themselves (and their parents) by inadvertently scratching their face and skin. A newborn baby does not yet have control of their movements. Those jerky, newborn reflexes, including the well-known Moro reflex or startle reflex, means your baby will fling their hands and arms out or open suddenly, also opening those usually clenched little fists. This is likely when they may scratch their own precious face, and why you should trim those ‘talons’ as soon as there is enough excess nail present.
Just like your babies’ hair and skin, their nails start developing during the second trimester of pregnancy. Yes, some babies may even be born with long nails! Which is why it is important to have your baby nail trimmer ready to go from day one, packed in your hospital bag.
Traditional Methods For Trimming Baby Nails
Parents often comment how overwhelmed they feel when faced with such tiny fingers and toes. The advice on which baby nail clippers or baby nail trimmers to use, or whether to use anything at all, varies quite a lot.
A common recommendation on your hospital bag checklist, will be the inclusion of mittens to prevent babies from scratching. These, however, restrict early sensory development and create a warm moist environment for fluff and debris to become trapped. They also don't solve the problem!
It is not recommended to use mittens on newborns to stop scratching as they stop the child from sucking on their fingers, to self soothe or when showing early signs of hunger. The mittens also hinder the baby’s opportunity to touch things around them, such as your chest when breastfeeding. Mittens also stop that important skin to skin contacts. Separate mittens (those that are not securely attached to their pyjamas or sleep suit) are also a choking hazard.
Some parents have even been advised in the past to peel the nail, or even nibble the nail off. There are several reasons this is a big no-no. Not only are you spreading germs from your own mouth to a newborn, you may accidentally bite their little finger, or break the nail too far down. We are sure you can also recall the pain of accidentally peeling a broken nail right down into the quick or nail bed. Ouch! Plus, it will leave behind a sharp, jagged edge which will then do more damage as it grows out.
Baby nail clippers and scissors, sound like the tool for the task, but the low visibility they offer the user, often results in over-trimming. If you too have accidentally clipped the tip of a tiny finger, you are not alone! And boy do they bleed!
Nail files, while safer, take such a long time to use. The newer electric ones on the market, do speed the process up, but often make noise plus require batteries and replacement parts. They also can’t reach down the sides. Often leaving sharp little corners.
Introducing A Safer Baby Nail Trimmer
We know that trimming babies’ nails is an essential task in caring for your baby. Despite the challenges of baby nail clippers and the above-mentioned methods, it is one that cannot be overlooked. By selecting the right tool, the fear of over trimming can be alleviated. Thanks to Julia Christie, and her innovative product, the Nail Snail® 3-in-1 Baby Nail Trimmer, what was once a daunting task, is now safer, easier and faster.
The multi-award-winning Nail Snail® was designed right here in Australia, and its revolutionary design is unlike anything else on the market.
Its unique features include:
- An under the nail cleaner, to remove any dirt and grime from under the nails
- A patented, precision v-shaped blade, which allows for multi-directional cutting and is made from medical-grade, stainless steel.
- A fine nail file to smooth off any rough edges
- An easy-to-hold, ergonomic, rubber grip
Most baby’s nails vary in shape and size and are quite flexible. The Nail Snail®, unlike traditional baby nail clippers, will allow you to contour your trimming to the exact shape and size of each individual nail.
How To Use The Nail Snail®
- Start with having your child’s fingers or toes pointing away from you. Having them sitting in your lap or cradled in your elbow allows for this.
- Using the Nail Snail® tail, gently clean under each nail. By removing any debris and grime, you have better visibility of the excess nail you need to trim. It also helps to separate the nail from the skin, as often the nail can lay very flat to the skin
- Holding the shell of the Nail Snail®, with the eye prongs facing away from you, place the base of the metal V-shaped blade against the edge of the nail.
- Carefully catching the edge of the nail, move the blade forward slowly, following the curve of the fingernail.
- Using the same technique, trim straight across the toenails.
- Finish the task by gently smoothing off any rough edges with the nail file.
If you are wanting to practice beforehand, try using your Nail Snail® on a thin piece of cardboard or halved plastic bottle to get used to how much force is needed and to build up your confidence. We also have a fantastic range of frequently asked questions videos to help you out.
How Often Will I Need To Use A Baby Nail Trimmer?
Newborn nails surprisingly grow quite quickly. You may need to trim them more than once, each week, for the first few weeks after birth. Toenails, however, grow at approximately half that rate and will also need to be trimmed to prevent catching on bedding and socks.
As your baby grows, nail growth slows slightly, and you may find yourself trimming weekly or fortnightly. When your baby starts to crawl, keeping fingernails and toenails short will help to prevent nail injury caused from catching and scraping on floor coverings.
It is important to remember when trimming fingernails, you should follow the natural curve of the nail, avoiding trimming into the nail bed. But toenails should be trimmed straight across to prevent ingrown nails. By using the Nail Snail®, fortunately you can do both. And if you do find yourself trimming in the wrong direction, you can stop and correct, unlike with baby nail clippers.
Creating A Moment Of Bonding
Here at Christie & Christie®, we believe that nail trimming can and should be fun. A special moment between carer and child.
To help make your nail trimming time easier and a moment of bonding with your little one, we also recommend these top tips:
- Make sure your child is calm. It is a nice idea to sing with them, the Nail Snail® song (featuring Julia Christie and her children on vocals!).
- Make sure you have plenty of light, it is important to be able to see well
- Work with someone else if it helps, have them distract baby with a favourite toy or TV show - we love BLUEY (but be warmed you may be laughing too much)
- If using on an older child, let them give your Nail Snail® a name, this helps make nail
trimming time, a moment of care and fun.
- Praise your baby for helping you finish, both of you will feel good for getting the job done!
For older babies and children offer a small treat or sticker after nail trimming time is done.
- Keep your Nail Snail® in a safe, clean and dry place. We recommend keeping it in a Nail Snail® canvas storage bag.
Baby Nail Problems
As explained on the popular website Raising Children, “it is quite common for young babies to get a small infection (called paronychia) around a fingernail or toenail. This often clears up without needing treatment. But you might need to put a small amount of antiseptic cream or liquid on the nail. Sometimes this infection can spread further into the skin of the finger or toe, causing the area to become swollen and red. If you notice this, see your GP.”
If you do accidentally cut your baby’s skin and it bleeds, gently press a soft cloth pad onto the cut until the bleeding stops. Don’t put on a dressing because your baby might suck it off. If you’re worried about the cut, take your baby to see your GP.
Let’s face it, adjusting to this ‘being at home thing’ with a newborn can be tough at times. Sometimes setting just one goal to accomplish for the day, such as trimming your baby’s nails, can be a serious mood booster – and that’s OK!
The Nail Snail® is designed for your child’s nails from birth to five years. It offers you a safer, easier and faster alternative when it comes to using a baby nail trimmer and is making life that little bit easier for parents all over the world.