Day 43: Tiny Little Razor Blades (a.k.a. Baby Fingernails)

One thing we have been battling with since the little guy was born is the tiny little razor blades that are attached to the ends of his fingers.  Seriously, his fingernails are lethal!  They are super sharp, and now that his arms are flying around as he learns how to coordinate his movements and he reaches for everything, those little blades are dangerous.  So, what are you supposed to do?

We have opted with the time-tested “file the nails down” method.  Basically, there are a few times of day (like when he wakes up and he is a little groggy) that we can file away at the nails using miniature emery boards.  When he was really newborn we would file them when he was eating, but now we rely on the times when he is “chill”.  The only problem with filing them is you can really only get the nails straight across, and if you are not careful, you will leave the nail with a “corner” that is sharp enough to cut glass.

tiny emery boards for tiny fingernails
tiny emery boards for tiny fingernails

Other options are using baby nail clippers and baby nail scissors – which we are afraid to use given the little guy’s tendency to throw his arms around (imagine cutting too deep or missing the nail).  At some point we will take that step to go to the nail clippers or scissors – but not yet (my wife and I are both afraid to take that step at the moment).  After all, the little guy would not be too happy with the ends of his fingers all cut up, right?

There is always the “chew the baby’s nails” option.  We do not use this option, but I can see how it would work for those people who chew their nails.  From what I see from nail-chewers, they have an intense focus while nail chewing, and probably a high degree of accuracy in their nail chewing (I think if desired, most people who chew their nails could chew little designs in the edges of their nails).  But for me, since I do not chew my nails, I cannot imagine I would do very good work chewing the little guy’s nails.  Plus I would just feel weird gnawing on his fingers, especially when I am a wizard with the nail file. 😉

The fingernails are one thing, but the toenails are a whole separate topic altogether.  We also do the nail filing on the toenails, but there are 3 challenges:

  1. for the tiny little toes, there are tiny tiny little toenails, and you don’t want to rip the nail off when filing, so you have to file “down” (away from the ankle/leg) – and the little guy does not want to sit too long for that activity.
  2. the toenails get super sharp and also break off easily (and therefore get even sharper), so if you don’t pay attention, you could end up with cuts all over the legs and feet from the toenails
    1. I should also add that yesterday we saw a nasty cut on the little guy’s nose, and after inspection of his hands we could not figure out which finger cut him.  Then we saw his big toenail had a broken bit that was super sharp, and he had cut his nose when he was sucking on his toes.
  3. the big toe on our little guy is solid.  I swear it is made of diamonds and steel, and when filing the nails of his big toes I am reminded of the following clip:

Some parents use those tiny little mittens with their babies to protect their faces from getting cut up by their fingernails.  We did not do this when our little guy was just born, and I sometimes wish we would have – especially some mornings when I see him first thing and it looks like he was sleeping in a crib lined with cactus.  Basically, when he wakes up, he rubs his eyes and his face, and if the nails are too long (which happens all of the sudden), or if they have any edges at all, they scratch him (it looks bad at first but disappears after an hour).  But, now if we tried to use those little mittens he would probably not be too accepting of it.  So, we try our best, we just keep on filing, and try to stay ahead of them getting sharp – it’s amazing all these little things you have to pay attention to.


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