I’d rather change a diaper every 5 minutes, than trim my baby's nails.

“I’d rather change a diaper every 5 minutes, than trim my baby's nails.” (As overheard at a baby and me class today.) “It’s fine. It’s just scary.”

The existing 4 ways to trim baby's nails

1. Bite the nails off

2. A nail clippers

3. Emery boards

4. A baby scissors

Bite them off. It’s not as savage as it sounds.

pros: your newborn’s nails are paper thin, so it isn't like biting your own

cons:  as nails thicken it’s not as easy; and ‘baby shark doo do do’  song will be on repeat in your head

A Baby Nail Clipper. Can be tricky.

tip: clip the tiny sections from outside in so your angle doesn’t bite them; use an infant clipper designed to overcome what scares you; products with lights, magnifying glasses and bulbous grips are helpful

pros: works well if they are in a deep sleep

cons: you feel terrible if you miss and get their finger tips

Emery Boards. Old school or battery powered.

pros: no sharp edges; battery operated options have differing sand papers, LED lights

cons: you might get scratched as they pull away; parents complain of the cost of replacements

Baby Nail Scissors. Like Grandma used to do.

pros: rounded design, stands the test of time

cons: newborn nails are so thin, sometimes scissors won’t cut through until they’re older infants


While feeling like mama shark isn’t exactly appealing, the gnawing/biting off worked best for me while he was an infant. And, eventually a magnified nail clipper, as his nails thickened. The battery powered mani/pedi nail clipping kits are popular, but can also be expensive and feel a little power tool-like for the job.

There is no single truth in parenting, but not wanting to be the one hurting your baby while grooming is certainly a goal. Good luck mama shark with your truth!


Sarah is a birth mom, adoptive mom, wife, working mom and optimist. She is the founder of Hummingbird Infant. Sign up for our free confidence-boosting weekly Baby Buzz email for insights to help you in your parenting journey.