Whether it’s the look of total peace while they sleep or that mischievous grin when they’re doing something cheeky, their expressions combined with that perfect, soft skin is just the best.
So, when all of a sudden there’s a big bleeding scratch across their face, it can come as a bit of a shock. And then when you realise that big bleeding scratch came about from their own fingernails? Well, cue feeling like a terrible parent.
Because really, how could you have let your child’s fingernails get so razor sharp that they could draw blood from their own face? Well…pretty easily actually.
cutting baby nails - a team effort
“Cutting a baby’s fingernails is easy,” said no parent ever.
It’s a fine art that involves skill, patience and a baby that doesn’t move, and therefore, isn’t the kind of thing you can quickly do as and when.
Many parents find it’s a team effort - one holds the baby still while the other snips, while others swear by doing it at night. Another top tip is to try and clip baby's nails while they sleep in the buggy. That way, they stay still and you have daylight to work with.
babies scratch their faces easily
“You feel like blurting out ‘It wasn't me! I watch her constantly!’ even though she looks like she's been in a scrappy street fight.”
Also, babies can be quite clumsy: their arms flail around, they still don’t have full control of their hands so it’s really easy for them to hit themselves in the face. Therefore, if one of their nails is just a touch too long, or has a sharp corner, before you know it, there’s an unsightly scratch to deal with.
“I do worry whether old ladies on the bus will judge me if my daughter has a wolverine scratch across her cheek,” says dad, Luke. “You feel like blurting out ‘It wasn't me! I watch her constantly!’ even though she looks like she's been in a scrappy street fight.”
As much as it fills us with horror to see even a trace of blood on our baby’s face, the midwives advise that most small cuts and grazes can usually be treated at home. Simply clean and cover, but avoid using cotton wool as the fluff can get stuck in the wound. WaterWipes are an alternative as they’re made from 99.9% water and a drop of fruit extract and are as soft as cotton wool. They should heal by themselves in a matter of days.
Similarly, if you accidentally give their fingers a nip while trimming their nails, try not to panic. Just apply a clean WaterWipe on the cut and apply a little pressure - the bleeding should soon stop.
It’s important to keep baby’s nails as short as possible, and if your baby is frequently scratching themselves (at night if they have eczema for instance) look into purchasing some scratch mittens to keep their nails covered up.
But remember, if your baby gets a scratch - you’re not a terrible parent and it’s usually no reason to panic. If you are ever worried about a cut on your baby’s skin, speak to your midwife or healthcare practitioner.