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They’re teeny, thin, and bendable, but your newborn’s nails do need to be clipped; she may unwittingly scratch herself if they get too long. Wait until she’s asleep so she won’t fuss or protest. Use baby-size scissors or clippers, whichever you prefer. Hold your baby’s finger, pressing the tip down and away from the nail. Gently snip straight across, taking care that you don’t go too low and nip the quick.
Because a newborn’s fingernails grow fast, you’ll probably need to trim them every two or three days during the first three weeks, Dr. Elbirt says. After that, nails harden and tend to grow more slowly. Toenails can be trimmed the same way, though much less frequently. They generally don’t grow as quickly, nor do they scratch. Resist the urge to peel or nibble off the tips of your baby’s nails. Peeling can inadvertently take off too much of the nail, while nibbling can transfer germs from your mouth to her skin.