Afraid I am Raising a Nail Biter

I was never one to bite my own nails, unless I was caught with a hang nail away from an instrument to remove it. My son is now almost 3. I know they tell you not to bite your baby’s fingernails (despite the fact that using clippers on a newborn is a very scary ordeal as any new parent can tell you), and I didn’t, for the most part. However, I breastfed my son until he was 12 months old. If while he was eating he would scratch me, I would bite the offending finger nail off, rather than disrupt his meal (because he would get so mad that he wouldn’t go back on then and scream for an hour.) Otherwise, I used clippers to trim his nails.

A couple of weeks ago, he and I were out somewhere and he had a hang nail, so without thinking about it, I bit it off. He got this spacey look in his eyes and asked me to bite the nails off his other fingers. I refused at that time, but now both times I have told him we need to cut his nails, he has asked me to bite them off instead of trim them with the clippers. Okay, I know I shouldn’t have given in, but trying to trim the nails on a child who is not willing is just not a good thing. I couldn’t just let it go and do it another day because he is at a new daycare, so I worry that they will not grant me the benefit of the doubt if I don’t keep him in the best hygiene since they don’t know us yet. I don’t need him scratching other children or himself so he looks like an abuse case.

So, again, it was like he was in a trance - quiet and spacey, while I bit his nails off. It was very strange to see a normally active boy sit so still and behave.

Do you think he somehow remembers this from when I breastfed him? Is he going to bite his own nails as he grows up (he doesn’t yet), trying to regain his babyhood? Anyone else out there willing to admit they bit their baby’s figernails, too and make me feel better that I am not the only one who ignored the advice? They say you shouldn’t because the germs in your mouth could infect the baby’s skin. Only if there was a break in it, and I was much less likely to break his skin with my teeth than a clipper.

I thnk you are worrying about nothing.

He is probably quite and spacey when you bite his nails because it is an unusual thing you are doing. Maybe he will grow up to be a nail bitter, maybe not. Does it really matter?

I would not use my mouth to bite a three year olds nails because, well, yuck! Who knows what is under that kid’s nails. Kids will pick up anything! But, I can’t imagine how it could hurt anything.

If you are really worried about doing it again then I would clip his nails when you clip yours. Tell him that is how grown ups shorten their nails.

Except that one time in the store, I wash his hands first, I am not an idiot.
I can’t change the past, and I am not that worried about it really - it isn’t the end of the world if he bites his nails, especially as a man.
I am more interested from a scientific perspective - wondering if this sort of thing is what causes nail biters to be.

I used to bite my son’s nails – until I bit one too short and he hated me for it for days. I gave it up.

I never said you were an idiot. I just said that I wouldn’t do it because it sends off big “yuck!” signals in my head. Just because something makes me go yuck doesn’t mean it bothers everybody.

Sorry - didn’t mean to snap at you. : ) Your advice is appreciated otherwise. I have a very high “yuck” threshold, I guess.