Welcoming Aunt Flo: How to Handle Your Daughter’s First Period
A girl’s first period marks an important moment in her life. When I first got my period, I remember my mom proudly declaring, “My baby is a woman now.” Now that I’m a mom, I understand my mom’s sense of pride in me growing up, but at that time I didn’t feel like a woman, I just felt gross. And many girls may feel this way about their first period; it’s as if their body has betrayed them. Their bodies begin to look different. They feel different and biologically they are different. They grow up so fast, and the changes can be a lot to handle, which is why I think it is important for moms to talk to daughters early on about what the expect before their first period, so when it comes, she’s prepared for what’s ahead.
Here are three key things I will do for my girl’s first period.
Inform her, don’t embarrass her.
There is no set age for when a girl starts her period. In some girls, it can happen as early as age 8 or 9. My pediatrician told me that I could expect my daughter to get their period around the same time I got mine, which was age 12. The biggest thing to remember when talking to a girl about her period is to try not to embarrass her. It’s a sensitive subject and things can get awkward, so determine the best approach for your child. You can gave her the basics and tell her if she ever sees blood in her underwear, it was normal and not to panic. It’s just her period and this is what happens to girls when their bodies start to mature. Also stressed the importance of keeping her body clean. Now, more than ever, she needs to be sure to keep her body clean. You can also give the school permission for her to participate in a health workshop held by the school nurse. The nurse should cover this subject matter in a small group with other girls the same age, but check ahead of time to be sure. It will give your daughter an opportunity to ask a medical professional questions and see that she isn’t alone since her peers would face the same challenges. Honestly, she might learn most of the gory details from other girls, but makes sure she also knows that she can come and talk to you at anytime.
Give her the proper tools.
When it comes to her first period, preparation is key. Once she reaches the age where you know the period could be coming any day, make sure she has her own supply of sanitary napkins and feminine hygiene products. When my daughter turns 11, I’ll starting sending her to school with a little emergency kit–a discreet makeup bag with sanitary napkins, feminine wipes and a change of underwear to keep in her book bag. Just in case she gets her first period while at school, needless to say she’ll be prepared. She’ll have her own stock of pads and panty liners and other hygiene products. It’s also a good idea to keep a supply of ibuprofen in case she experiences cramping or discomfort.
Help her keep track
For most girls, periods occur on a regular cycle, while others experience irregular period. If you find that your daughter’s period is irregular after the first few months, talk to your doctor to discuss what options are available to help. If your daughter has pretty regular periods, but struggles with PMS, it helps to have an app that helps her track her cycle. This way, she knows when a funky mood is most likely to sneak up on her. She’ll also find an app to be helpful when she’s planning her schedule and doesn’t want her period to be an issue. If you’re interested in downloading the app, here’s one to use.
Be patient with her changes.
As if the physical changes that come along with a girl’s first period aren’t hard enough, the emotional changes can be downright taxing. When your daughter starts going through puberty, you’ll quickly notice she’s like a whole different person. She can be moody and broody. She’ll eventually snap out of it, but it will take time. She’ll just need a little space and time to adjust to all the changes happening to her all at once. This time of transition will require a lot of patience and deep breaths.
Periods happen to us all. As moms, there’s a lot we can do to give our girls the silent and vocal support as much as they need vocal to find their own way through life’s different changes. When it comes to your little girl who is slowly becoming a woman, be patient and together you will find the balance between the two.
How did you handle your daughter’s first period?