If cutting our baby’s nails is part of the necessary hygiene care, exercising is not always easy for parents. Instructions and advice from pediatrician Alexandre Gardea to succeed in this “manicure” mission.
For new parents, cutting their newborn baby’s nails is a treatment that can cause some apprehension. And for good reason, we fear that the child will move and hurt him. “This is also a recurring question in the cabinet”abounds the pediatrician Alexandre Gardea, also author of the book “Hello doctor, this is Julien’s mother“ (Ed. The harmattan).
From what age cut his nails?
The pediatrician advisesavoid cutting a child’s nails before their 1st month, even 6 weeks. The reason: the days following his birth, his nails are still too soft and too stuck to the skin. As a result, we risk injuring him by practicing this type of care. Except that “some children are born with nails that are already long and scratchy (they are usually the same ones who are born with hair)”, he observes. Also, in this case, it is better according to him “file them”.
Baby nails: How often do you cut them?
Regarding the frequency, “it varies from one child to another”, explains Alexandre Gardea. What is certain, however, according to him, is that “toenails grow back slower than fingernails”. In general, cutting the nails of his toes once a month may suffice. For those of his hands, we check at least once a weekand cut if necessary.
With what tools (scissors, nail clippers)?
- We therefore use a cardboard nail file the first weeks baby;
- When the child has 1 or 2 months, the use of blunt scissors is possible, but we cut as little as possible, and we finish with a file so that her nails are no longer scratchy;
- From 6 months, you can switch to special baby nail clippers like the Green Blue product (available in green or pink) from the Beaba brand.
Generally, the manicure sets for newborns include adapted files, scissors and nail clippers.
Nails of hands, feet: how to do it?
“For newborns, we use a cardboard nail file to file and above all, round the corners”, says Dr. Gardea. When the babies are a little older, he advises to have them cut into squares, then file the edges to complete their manicure. Exit therefore the magnificent rounding that we imagined to achieve, because “usually the parent rounds too far”, he observes. Next, “The ideal is to hold the child against you, sitting in your arms while we take care of his nails”, he advises. And for the toddler? If it is more convenient, we canlie on the changing table, provided you hold it well while cutting his nails.
When should he cut his nails?
We can cut him during or after breastfeeding or bibiwhen the child is calm. Possibly while he sleeps, if that reassures the parent even if, from a psychological point of view, the pediatrician recommends, in general, not to do anything to the child when he sleeps. The alternative ? Do it when you get out of the bath. Contrary to what one might think, for Dr. Gardea “baby’s nails are not necessarily softer after the bath. On the other hand, the child is soothed”. This is essential to start serenely in nail cutting. Regarding the right timing, “it can also be reassuring towait until both parents are present“, he suggests. Whether it’s for one to hold the baby while the other parent cuts his nails or simply for him to remain present, by our side, so that we feel more confident.
To do / to avoid:
spread your fingers well
While we cut his nails, “it is also important to spread each finger well”, suggests Alexandre Gardea. We thus make sure not to tickle him and therefore that he does not risk moving.
Make sure the skin is dry enough
He also recommends wiping the water well between the fingers and toes with a towel, so that his skin is completely dry. A hygiene measure to be respected in order to prevent it from developing a mycosis-type infection.
Do not cut small skins
Do not cut or tear off the small skins that may be present at the end of your nails so that it does not turn into whitlow “even if they rarely do”, admits the pediatrician. On the other hand, “They sometimes do what are called turnstiles, it is red, shiny, sometimes purulent at the corner of the nail. If this happens, the application of an anti-staph ointment is usually enough to treat it.he explains.
We don’t cut too short
To prevent infections, we also avoid cutting the nails too short. The advice of the pediatrician: cut the minimum and then file.
Disinfect scissors before use
Before using nail clippers or scissors, make sure to disinfect them with a Biseptine spray or other antiseptic.
During the first few days, if the child has long and/or sharp nails, you can put on mittens to prevent him from scratching his face.
Don’t hold it too tight
Sometimes, for fear that he will move, we can tend to hold our baby’s hand or foot too firmly. However, as Alexandre Gardea points out, “the child does not like having too much restraint”. As a result, he may then want to get out of more beautiful.
What to do in the event of an accident?
“Even if they are rare and generally not serious, accidents do happen”, concedes Dr. Gardea. If this happens, he prescribes “disinfect immediately with eosin or an antiseptic then, leave his wound exposed“. Finally, if you feel that it is serious, that you have the slightest doubt or that you feel worried about your health, you do not hesitate to call your doctor.