6 Ways to Prepare Your Daughter for Her First Period
As a parent it’s incredibly important to communicate to your daughter about her upcoming menstrual cycle, and it shouldn’t be deemed as a taboo topic. The goal is to create a safe space for her as you ease in the topic of discussion. Reassurance is key in preparing your daughter for her cycle because it may be intimidating. Not only will she feel apprehensive as she anticipates its arrival, she may be comparing herself to her friends that have gotten theirs already. If her menstrual cycle comes before her friends, it can influence her to feel awkward being an early bird amongst her peers.
According to Planned Parenthood, most girls will get their period between the ages of 12 and 14, however, it can occur earlier or much later. Consider her feelings while feeding her helpful information on symptoms to look out for as her cycle arrives. Whether you are a mother or single father that holds the responsibility of educating your daughter on “period hacks” use this guide to make this preparation easier.
Breakdown what a period is and its purpose for young ladies and women.
Parents have to first explain that in menstruation the uterus eliminates tissue and blood as it exits through the vagina. Why does this occur? In the female anatomy, there are two ovaries which carry multiple eggs. Hormones mature the eggs and thicken the lining of the uterus. Ovulation then occurs when one of the mature eggs are released traveling through the fallopian tube and to the uterus.
If a pregnancy doesn’t happen, the lining of the uterus consisting of blood, tissue, mucus, and nutrients is disposed of. A menstrual cycle is the body’s way of preparing for pregnancy each month until you reach a certain period in age. If you don’t want to come off as the boring health teacher parent, find a creative way to explain menstruation and why it happens.
Explain possible symptoms and the reality of maintaining them.
Explain that there may be cramping, bloating, nausea, acne flare-ups, and odd cravings for sweet treats. Without frightening her, admit that some women have unbearable cramps which keep them from going to work or school during the duration of their monthly cycle.
If your daughter’s period has already started, some hacks to combat these symptoms are ensuring that she gets regular exercise. The muscles contracting from cramps warm up during exercise helping to alleviate these pains. Avoiding soda and sugar-filled drinks would reduce hormonal acne breakouts and bloating. Although, it isn’t the end of the world if you let her enjoy a sweet treat to satisfy a craving.
Demonstrate how to use menstrual products and toiletries.
Be hands on when demonstrating how to use a cruelty-free sanitary pad. Open the pad and explain how each pad handles light to heavy flow levels. Show how to place it into the underwear to avoid leaks. After showing how to use them, let her try as a mock trial run. For the dads, try closing the bathroom door and explaining from the other side walking her through it if she needs further help. Make sure she feels comfortable in how to use her pad.
Download a period tracker app.
Period tracker apps are extremely helpful in documenting the start and ending of periods, ovulation, and fertility. Although it takes time for a girl's period to regulate on a schedule, a tracker will help you and your daughter gauge around what time of the month it will most likely come. Trackers make periods more manageable and most importantly eliminates the anxiety of not knowing when it can occur.
Make an emergency kit.
Don’t wait for her period to come before you make an emergency kit full of essentials. In this kit prepare cruelty-free pads, wipes, hand sanitizer, and a fresh pair of underwear in case the worn ones get soiled. Store the kit in a small to medium travel size pouch to fit comfortably in her purse. This essentials kit will make your daughter more confident if she is met with her monthly visitor at school or away from home. She has exactly what she needs to be successful.
Keep communication open as new questions arise.
As time passes and her period finally arrives, new questions might pop up. Make sure your daughter feels comfortable by keeping that topic of discussion open. You don’t want to show her the ropes and throw her to the wolves. Allow her to keep educating herself. You might even learn something new in the process of guiding her in the journey of tackling menstruation.