You picture the perfect face as you look at your little one, so it can be quite a shock when you peer down to see a scratch and wonder where it came from. The first time a scratch appeared on my baby daughter’s face, I was so alarmed because I thought that I had scratched her. I was mortified. It turned out that her nails had grown faster than expected!
Have you ever noticed how paper-thin baby’s nails are? You would think that paper-thin nails would not do too much damage! But, nails are so sharp when they are that thin. I am sure you have experienced a paper cut once or twice in your life; well, these little paper-thin nails have the same result.
If you have started to notice some scratches here and there, it is definitely time to start considering how you are going to cut your little one’s nails. This was a traumatic time for me. I just did not want to do it. I thought that I would cut her little fingers in the process. I resisted the need to trim them for so long because of my fear.
A family friend actually asked if she could do it for me. I said yes with some trepidation, and guess what? My friend cut her little finger by accident! I could not believe it and it made me realize that I really should have done it myself.
So, I guess the most important thing is to believe in your own abilities as a parent, and invest in a good set of nail clippers designed for babies. Be brave and get the job done!
Why do babies scratch their face?
There are a number of reasons that could cause these scratches to happen. Have a good look at your babies’ skin so you can rule out anything that might need medical attention. Here are some of the main causes for a baby to be touching or rubbing their skin, which may then result in nasty scratches:
- Eczema and dry skin
- Itchiness and rashes
- Accidents (they happen!)
Eczema and dry skin
If you are noticing dry and flaky skin, then you will need to rule out eczema. This condition can be very painful for little ones and can lead to serious rashes and infections. My son used to get eczema behind his knees and under his arms. These are hot and sweaty places where the air does not circulate as much as other parts of the body. When the weather was hot, he would really suffer the most, so it is important to understand the causes, know the best way to prevent a flare up and understand how to soothe the skin if it does.
Dry skin does not always mean that your child has eczema. It could be a reaction to clothing materials against the skin, too much heat around the body or not enough moisture in the skin.
Itchiness and rashes
From time-to-time, our skin can become itchy or a rash can appear. It could be from a bath where the water is too warm, or we may have brushed past a plant that causes a rash. These are only minor ailments most of the time, but when it is our little bundle of joy, it could seem a lot worse than it is because their skin is so soft and fresh. Scratching an itch or a rash can certainly look a lot worse on their young skin than it would on adult skin.
There are always going to be accidents where we knock or scratch our skin. The same is the case for babies and toddlers. Your little one may not be experiencing sensitive skin or eczema. It may just be that they have knocked themselves on something, or brushed against something that has caused a scratch.
Babies have a variety of reflex actions where their limbs flail about. They might be startled by a sound or from the light. This may cause an involuntary reflex, and in the process, they scratch their skin.
Your little one may also be sensitive to soaps and cleansers. Some soaps and cleansers can be harsh on young skin and therefore cause some itchiness or rashes that then need scratching.
Products that contain goat’s milk are really good for sensitive skin and will help to prevent the skin drying out and becoming itchy. Having skin sensitivity does not mean that your baby has eczema or that they are going to have life-long problems with their skin. Often, skin sensitivity does get better as the years progress.
As babies grow and develop, they are exploring their body. They find their nose, ears and mouth quite quickly and it is fascinating for them. So, if their nails are not kept short it is highly likely that they will scratch their face while they are exploring.
We cannot stop our baby from exploring their features and we would not want to, either. We just need to make sure we do our best to try and prevent scratches whenever we can.
It is natural to rub our eyes when we are tired. Babies will do the same. This is a time when it is highly likely that your little one could end up with a nasty scratch on their face. It would be difficult to stop this happening, as babies have patterns that develop and change as they hit different milestones. You may get an understanding of times when your baby is showing some signs of becoming tired and then this pattern may change. Babies constantly keep us on our toes!
How can I help my baby to stop scratching their face?
Here are three of the best ideas that might help you:
Keep fingernails short
It might be a good idea to check your little one’s nails on a weekly basis and schedule in a time for trimming. If you keep to a pattern there is a good chance that you will remember to cut them regularly. This will help to avoid any nasty looking scratches. You might like to have a look at some schedules or trackers for babies so that you can keep a visual note of your daily routines.
A newborns nails will grow quite quickly and as they are so thin, there are little flaky pieces that will need to be monitored as they become quite sharp if not trimmed.
Always make sure you have the appropriate tools for the job. A good set of nail clippers for babies will be perfect as they often have protective pieces to make them safer to use. It would not be a good idea to use adult nail clippers on a baby, no matter how careful you think you can be.
Put on a pair of mittens
Mittens will help to stop your little one being able to make contact with their face and cause accidental scratching. The bonus is that your baby will also look super cute with their hands in little mittens!
There are some jumpsuits that have mittens built in, or you can get mittens on their own and match them to your favorite outfit. The benefit of having the mittens built in, is that you will not lose one! It can be quite difficult to keep the individual mittens on. You may have already noticed how quickly a sock can come off and disappear into thin air!
I have also seen some cute little hand socks! These are a little bit longer than a mitten, so will be more likely to stay on their hands and not get lost. How I wish my kids were still babies! Shopping for these types of cute items was always my favorite thing to do.
Relieve minor itches and skin irritations
If the skin is soft and moisturized, there is less chance that it will need to be relieved with scratching. There are a number of high-quality products to help relieve skin irritations in babies, so do some research to ensure you find a product that suits their skin and age.
If your baby does have eczema (as confirmed by a medical professional), then you will need to find a suitable eczema cream for babies. These creams are designed to provide relief for your baby, as well as reduce inflammation and infections which can occur if the skin is left untreated. It is handy to not only keep the cream at home, but to also carry one with you so that you can apply when needed.
Turn down the heat at bath time so that the hot water does not irritate the skin. If the water is too warm it can certainly cause itchiness and rashes on the skin. Add some goat’s milk to the bath to add extra moisture to the skin and to soothe inflamed skin.