How to Cut Baby Nails Without Clippers

How to Cut Baby Nails Without Clippers

Baby’s fingernails and toenails are fast-growing. And as part of the grooming process, you have to do the occasional clipping. But what happens when you don’t have clippers? Do you leave baby’s nails to grow untended silently, hoping they break off on their own? You’ll be glad to know that there are other ways on how to cut baby nails without clippers.

Keeping the baby’s nails short and clean can be achieved without clippers. If they are soft, you can peel them off. Alternatively, you can use special baby nail scissors or an emery board to file them down.

Read on as we discuss safe alternatives to trim your little one’s nails.

Why Do We Trim Baby Nails?

Babies are on a constant journey of discovery. They gradually interact with the environment and themselves from the moment they are born. During this period, they tend to scratch as they discover various body parts. They may also do this as a self-soothing mechanism. 

The main reasons why we keep baby nails short include:

  • To make them neat
  • Prevent self-injury from scratching
  • To potentially avoid spreading infections from dirt and bacteria that accumulate under long nails.

This is why you must familiarize yourself with the several available ways of trimming baby nails. Always opt for the one that your child is most comfortable with.

Tips on How to Cut Baby Nails Without Clippers

For most parents of infants, nail trimming is one of the most harrowing experiences they go through – especially without clippers. But it doesn’t have to be so. Here’s how to cut baby nails without clippers.

1. Peel Them Off

Young babies have pretty soft and supple nails during the first six weeks after birth. They will then begin to harden to have a somewhat firmer free edge. You will notice that as your little one begins to grasp and tug at things, their fingernails may split on one edge. The same applies to toenails.

You could gently peel off the ends with your fingers beginning on the split side. Babies’ nails are so soft that the surplus will come away effortlessly. However, this approach is best used as a quick resort whenever you notice a broken nail, not as your preferred technique.

2. Special Baby Nail Scissors

It may sound dangerous, but it is possible to use scissors on baby nails. But it’s not the typical pair you keep in the kitchen drawer or embroidery box. The kind used on baby nails is explicitly designed for that purpose. They are tiny and round-ended for added safety. Almost every baby care kit will contain a small pair.

How to Use Baby Nail Scissors 

  • Pick an opportune moment, preferably when the little one is drowsy or asleep.
  • Ensure their hands are clean. You can wipe with a towel dipped in warm water.
  • Push the fingertip pad down and away from the nail while holding your baby’s finger.
  • Snip along the natural curvature of the fingernail, being careful not to nip the skin by cutting too low.
  • Cut her toes’ nails straight across. Bear in mind that toenails grow at a slower rate compared to fingernails, requiring less upkeep.

3. An Emery Board

If you’re wondering how to cut baby nails without clippers in the safest way, then emery boards for babies are the way to go. They are not only for shaping and smoothing nails. They can shorten nails too. Since baby nails are soft, you can easily trim them in this way. Experts recommend emery boards as they are gentler compared to clippers and scissors. 

Emery boards are typically made from cardboard or plastic-lined with a grained surface. The coarseness differs; therefore, you must find one made specifically for young children. Opt for a high grit number that feels like the top of a cat’s tongue. They are designed with the baby’s delicate nails in mind, so they are way smaller than the type you would find at the nail salon.

Emery boards are preferred where the nails are too small for clippers or if the baby is fussy about clipping. Accidental snips that may occur when using clippers or scissors are also avoided (to the relief of baby and you!). They’re also cheap and readily available.

How to Use an Emery Board to Trim Baby’s Nails

  • Clean the baby’s hands, feet, and nails. 
  • Hold the baby’s finger or toe gently and begin filing.
  • File into a rounded edge. Avoid leaving flat square edges.

Best Time to Cut Baby Nails

Anyone who’s ever attempted to cut baby nails can attest to the myriad challenges accompanying the task. Here are a few tips to help you through.

  • Pick the appropriate time. Learn to relax your baby or look for moments when they are calm, such as after a warm bath or nursing. This makes it less traumatic (for both of you) as the baby is less fussy.
  • Choose a suitable place. The outdoors is an excellent option, but the room must be well-lit if indoors.
  • Gather the tools. Keep everything you need close. Include a few cotton gauze pads in case of any mishaps and a toy to act as a distraction tool.
  • Ask someone to help. They can either hold the baby or distract them while you continue.

If you accidentally nip the tip of the baby’s finger, clean the affected area and dress it. Strive to keep it as clean as possible to promote quick healing.

The Bottom Line

If you’re wondering how to cut baby nails without clippers, you can make use of an emery board or purchase specially-designed nail scissors. If the baby’s nail is still soft and has split along the edge, you can gently pull it off. However, don’t be tempted to bite your child’s nails. There’s a high risk of transferring germs from your mouth to minor cuts on their fingertips – which you’re trying to avoid in the first place.

Have you tried any of these fantastic alternatives to clippers? Feel free to share your experience. Comments and queries are welcome too!