Setting time aside to talk to your daughter openly about her first period can make a massive difference, as the alternative is getting information from her friends or online, which could be false. You can help your daughter feel more prepared for her first period, by talking to her about the science, writes Vicki Buffery.
How to talk to your daughter about her first period
It may seem like it was five minutes ago you were helping her take her first steps, and now, like all parents, you may be wondering when is the right time to speak to your daughter about puberty and periods. You’ll know your daughter is about to start her period when: breasts have started to develop, discharge in underwear, the body has started to change shape and size, pubic and under arm hair has started to grow, body odour may be more noticeable, hair often becomes greasy, mood swings begin to be noticed, spots may start to appear on the face, chest and back, stomach, lower back and groin cramps can be experienced. Your daughter’s first period is a momentous event in her life, but it can also be a confusing time for young girls. When her period arrives, it’s important she feels prepared and is aware of what’s happening to her. Here are some tips to help your daughter feel more prepared!
Don’t be afraid to talk about the science.
Don’t be afraid to talk about the science. Although it sounds like an obvious thing to say, it’s worth talking to her about the basics of why we have periods, how the menstrual cycle works and the blood loss she’ll experience so she feels more comfortable and prepared.
Provide starter packs. It’s a good idea to give her some pads to keep in her school bag just in case.
Help build confidence
Help build confidence in protection. Once you’ve bought a pack, show her a pad, how she should position it and how to dispose of it afterwards. This should give her the confidence to do it herself. The same applies to tampons as they can be really confusing, especially as they come in both an applicator and non-applicator formats. One of the biggest worries many girls have is starting their period when they’re away from home or in school. Very often, wearing a panty-liner on a daily basis can build her confidence as it alleviates any fear that she’ll be caught unaware.
Go through the what-ifs! It’s also perfectly normal for her period to last a couple of weeks too, so again, it’s worth sharing this bit of information with her so she’ll know what to expect. Frequently asked questions to consider include: When will my periods start? Do all girls start at the same age? How much will I bleed? Will anyone else know I’ve started my periods? Do periods hurt? How long should each period last? How often will I have a period? Which products should I use? How do I use the products and how often should I change them? Can I still exercise or swim when I’m on my period?
About Vicki: Vicki Buffery is Lil-Lets’ resident expert on all things puberty and periods! For more advice and support visit www. becomingateen.ie or visit the BecomingateenIRL YouTube channel. Both are dedicated to providing additional support and advice to teenagers and young girls. Lil-Lets have also launched a committed, nationwide, Schools Programme designed to prepare Irish girls for puberty and their first period.
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