Stealth Manicures: How to Trim Your Baby’s Nails

Trimming Your Baby's NailsWhen Emily was born, I bought a pair of Green Sprout baby nail clippers. How difficult could trimming baby nails possibly be? Famous last words. I know that some moms just bite their baby’s nails to trim them, but I could never get into that. I’m just not a nail biter. This means that every week since Emily was born, I have had to trim those ^**%# nails!

At first, I could trim her nails when she was awake, but that only lasted about three months while she was in her quiescent newborn stage. Now she wants to grab the clippers out of my hands, wave her hands around, and crawl away while I’m trying not to trim the tips of her fingers off. It’s a complete disaster. So now I’m doing the stealth manicure: trimming her nails while she is sleeping. At first, I would turn the nightlight on and get right in there with the clippers at bedtime or naptime. In the darkened bedroom, nail trimming was only so effective, and her nails were long again by the next week. I thought about buying a headlamp, but it wasn’t high on my priorities list. She always wears footed pajama pants and a sleep sack to bed, so trimming her toenails almost never happened. Luckily, I could peel the tips of her toenails to trim them, so that was a project that was mostly successful during the day (except for the big toes).

The next smart thing I did was invest in a nice pair of teeny tiny, pointed tip, curved blade cuticle scissors. That was a huge step up from the clippers. I don’t think I ever want to use those stupid clippers again. Seriously, what was Green Sprout thinking when they designed them? I accidentally impaled Emily’s thumb once while trying to clip the nail. Poor little baby — I thought I had maimed her forever. I learned to pull the skin of each finger down and away before I trimmed the nail, but it was still a harrowing experience, even with a sleeping baby. The cuticle scissors weren’t perfect, but there was no more fear of finger maiming, and suddenly I was able to trim her hangnails!

Last week, I bought a pair of blunt-tip baby nail scissors, and I’m embarrassed that I took so long to buy them. I found the nail scissors on, and the users rated them very highly (just short of 5 stars). They’re called Piyo Piyo scissors, and they’re made in Taiwan.

Now that I’ve made plenty of mistakes and figured some things out along the way, I have some gems to share with you.

How to Trim Your Baby’s Nails:

  1. Buy a pair of baby nail scissors and the tiniest cuticle scissors you can find
  2. Put both pairs of scissors in your purse
  3. Trim your baby’s nails when your baby is ASLEEP
  4. The best time to trim them is when your baby is asleep in their car seat in broad daylight. Don’t even mess with the darkened room stealth manicure. In the car, you can actually see what you’re doing, and you can trim off hangnails as well as fingernails and toenails with your duo scissor combo.
  5. Don’t buy baby nail clippers. They are seriously scary.
  6. If you’re planning a stealth pedicure, make sure your baby isn’t covered by a blanket or wearing socks when the car ride starts

If your baby doesn’t fall asleep in the car seat, I’m really very sorry for you. Buy a headlamp and remember to plan stealth pedicures in advance: no blankets, footed pajamas or socks before sleeptime. May the Force be with you.