July 10, 2004

Cutting Kid Nails

Excruciating. The first few times, you don't even think it's possible to clip them without cutting flesh. We did it while the kid was eating, but now that she's actively involved in feeding, this doesn't work so well anymore.

You could cut your kid's nails while she's sleeping (but then you'll feel like you're risking waking her up, which would be stupid). Or you can try negotiating, asking an infant to sit still and not move. This is a fool's errand, and you will inadvertently clip your kid's fingertip. You might just catch a cuticle, or you might make clip-long incision that draws blood. In either case, she will scream with real pain, pain you inflicted, and it will make you feel like a dirty, sadistic failure. Then you'll spend several hours wondering what the long-term impact of such abuse is, and will it end up in her book?

Rather than risk this uncertainty, I suggest going with the damage we know: let the kid watch some TV. She'll be an inert zombie for at least as long as it takes to trim the nails. And we use baby-sized clippers; the scissors just feel too unwieldy right now.

10 Comments

For the first few months, I used a nail file. No snipping, and the nails are so thin at that age that it doesn't take much time to get 'em good and short.
-- rD

Oh, right. I completely forgot about that phase. Good point.

I was entrusted with the tast of cutting my son's nails when he was a baby one night. One. In the process, I did just as you eluded to in your post, and snipped a chunk of his fingertip off. My memory is of course exaggerated, but none the less I did cut skin, and he did cry and scream. To this day, I will not cut my kids' nails unless absolutely necessary. That's the wife's job. :)

I have to second (third?) the nail file. I use it on my boy ( he just turned 8 months) and it works like a charm. I lay back with him on my belly/chest facing outward, and just zip zip away with it.

I use one of those huge emory boards that is a piece of foamcore with sandpaper on either side, about 8" long. Works great and he just relaxes against me as I do all his nails.

i too clipped his fingertip - awful awful awful, i still feel terrible about it. now we use a nail file - works like a charm!

I just found this site, and wish I had known about it when my daughter was an infant (she's 3 now).

When she was younger, she had little dagger-like nails that just laughed at nail files. My technique for clipping was to only try to do one or two nails at a time over the course of a day or two. Worked like a charm.

We just had our very first tears-free nail-cutting session this week (at 13 months). Until now, the only good solution was to put her in her car seat and drive for an hour or two--that put her out deeply enough to do it. But that suggestion isn't very practical for you big-city types.

I use the Dremel tool. It works great on the dogs too.

When my son was little I would wait until he fell asleep, then bite his nails off. Worked like a charm and no pain or fussing.

When my son was little I would wait until he fell asleep, then bite his nails off. Worked like a charm and no pain or fussing.

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