Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Nailed It!—Caring for Baby’s Nails

Can you imagine how many fingers and toes a parent clips over a baby, toddler and school age child’s lifetime? Here are some One Sassy Doctor’s calculations:

  • 10 fingers + 10 toes = 20 clips
  • Multiply that by once a week, 52 weeks a year = 1,040 a year
  • I still clip my 8-year-old girls’ nails, so consider you’ll do it until they are 10 or so.
  • That’s = 1,040 X 10 = 10,400 nail clips.
  • I have four kids = 41,600 clips over a lifetime.

OMG. Want to come get a mani/pedi with me?

Now back to the informative part of this posting.

The fingernails on a newborn are soft. If a baby is born having passed a bowel movement inside the womb, it is not uncommon for the nails to be stained a faint color yellow. Don’t worry about this as it goes away on it’s own over time. Do not, under any circumstances, polish a baby’s nails.

Babies move their arms around quite a bit and can reach the face. Most babies’ fingernails grow fast, and parents should pay attention to long nails, as they can scratch baby’s face or even the eye.

Use a baby size nail clipper or a nail file to trim baby’s nails. I worried about using a sharp edge scissor and risking a poke or cut, and I advise against this. Using a blunt safe edge scissor is just fine.

It’s best to wait until baby is asleep to cut the nails.

Here are One Sassy Doctor’s nail clipping steps:
  1. Make sure you can see the nail to be trimmed, nail bed and fingertip. Do the clipping in a well-lit space.
  2. With the top of your hand on the back side of the hand, gently holding the hand in place. Use the thumb on the same finger to push the fingertip back underneath the nail. 
  3. Using the opposite hand (your dominant one), take the nail clipper and make sure the fingernail is properly positioned inside the edges. Keep a small bit of nail on the nail bed.  
  4. If you accidentally cut too much and cause bleeding, use gentle pressure with a clean cloth. Alcohol will sting like a bee on an open wound, so use ointment with antibacterial components on the area. A healthy child will be just fine with an accidental slip clip. It’s happened to all of us. 
  5. Dispose of the fingernails. Please.
Amongst the bazillion clips One Sassy Doctor has had to date, one flipped inside my contact lens and got lodged (visibly like a little stick) into my eyeball. My husband saw it. Quite remarkable, huh? Again and again, parenting brings up a fair bit of doozies and a lot of stories. We’ll keep you laughing and learning on the One Sassy Doctor blog!

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