Your baby’s nails

Your baby’s nails may be long at birth. The skin is attached to the underside of the nail and can be easily damaged. The best time to trim your baby’s nails is when they are asleep.

Care of your baby’s nails

  • With your newborn just use an emery board to gently file the fingernails and toenails
  • As they get older, if you choose to trim your baby’s nails with scissors, use only small, blunt scissors (not pointed)
  • Avoid nail clippers as it easy to accidently clip your baby’s finger as well as their nail.
  • Biting your baby’s nails with your teeth can transfer bacteria from your mouth which could cause an infection.


Your baby’s umbilical cord

The umbilical cord joined you and your baby during your pregnancy. At birth the cord was clamped and cut, leaving a small amount of cord attached to your baby.  The remaining cord will fall off in about 7 to 21 days.

Care of your baby’s umbilical cord

  • Keep the cord area clean and dry to promote healing.
  • Ensure that diapers do not cover the cord. Roll or fold the front of the diaper down.
  • Use clothing without waistbands.
  • Your baby may be bathed before the cord falls off. After the bath, allow the cord area to dry before dressing your baby. Use a cotton-tipped applicator (for example, Q-Tips®) to dry around the cord.
  • A small amount of oozing or bleeding is normal when the cord is ready to fall off.
  • If the area around the cord stump is showing signs of redness or puss or has a foul smell contact your healthcare provider.


Photo credit: Janelle Aby, MD                                              Photo credit: Janelle Aby, MD