5 Tips on How to Trim Baby’s Nails

Hello everyone.  A new Internet star has been born.  In a new video that has gone viral, a father reaches out to clip his daughter’s small fingernails.  Each time he does so, the girl starts wailing away, and the mortified dad pulls back.  The the girl laughs, playing her dad like a fiddle!

clipping your child's nails

The video has now been watched over 28 million times and small wonder.  We’ve all been there!

Trimming your baby’s nails is a stressful experience for parents.  I remember asking myself: “What if I clip too far and hurt them, or make them bleed!?”  Having gone through this five times and wielded many questions from new parents on the sore (bad pun) subject, here are my tips when it comes to how to clip baby’s nails.

  1. Choose/buy a baby nail clipper – Options range from a rounded scissor to regular nail clippers. I personally prefer the nail clippers. I feel like I have more control and grip on them, which is nice to have when you are first getting the hang of it. Also, nail clippers can fit under even the littlest nails, making the job go by quicker, good news for both you and your squirmy baby!
  2. Trim and then trim again.  With nail trimming, you can trim a bit and then go back.  Don’t try to cut off a big chunk of the nail the first time around.  Rather, just cut the nail back a bit and then go back and cut more off the second time around.
  3. Find an ideal time – So when is the optimal time to be cutting your baby’s nails? I would definitely recommend clipping the nails soon after bath time. This is the time that your baby’s nails will be the softest and easiest to cut. If your child is still very young, you might even be able to get away with clipping their nails during nap time…let’s just hope they don’t wake up! For older kids, I’ve found that if they are distracted with a toy, book, or TV show, they tend to stay put more easily during the whole process.  (P.S. I still battle to cut my 11 year old’ nails!)
  4. Move from one end to another – Once you have your baby’s finger firmly held in in yours so they can’t manage to squirm away, you can begin clipping!  I like starting the nail clipper on one side of the nail and making my way to the other side, not worrying about taking too much at a time. Just gently push back baby’s skin under the nails using your finger and wedge the nail clipper between the nail and skin to begin trimming!
  5. Repeat – I would recommend clipping your child’s nails at least once a week to keep them from getting too long. When baby’s have broken out of the swaddle and being waving the arms about during the night, they easily can scratch themselves on the face, so you want to keep their nails short to prevent this.

As with most parenting challenges, the best thing to remember when struggling to learn how to cut your baby’s nails, is to breathe deeply and stay calm.  Even if you abort during the first attempt, eventually you will get there.  I promise!

Baby Nail Scissors or Clippers

If you have advice for how to cut your baby’s nails, please weigh in below and thanks so much for watching!


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