How to talk to your daughter about her first period: Tips to Help
This week I was enlightened about puberty, the latest menstrual inventions, and New Moon parties during a lively discussion in our Moms of Tweens and Teens Facebook community.
When my daughters got their periods I wish I would have know this stuff.
Whether it’s dealing with moodiness, a sassy attitude, or anything related to coping with our daughters hormones, the red badge of courage, better known as the menstrual cycle, has always been a hot topic among the moms in the group.
Obviously, it’s a popular topic because the vagina is so much fun to talk about (Can I just tell you how red my face is just typing this word!).
I couldn’t resist breaking the ice!
There’s a lot to navigate when it comes to this milestone in our daughter’s lives.
I’ve had more than one friend tell how she thought she was bleeding to death because her mother never had the puberty conversation with her.
I have gathered together a wealth of ideas and information that will equip you to better prepare your daughter to celebrate this significant rite of passage with confidence.
Take away what feels right for you and your daughter.
Here are 5 tips and resources to prepare yourself AND your daughter before that fateful day:
We never know when this day will hit.
Let’s be ready and provide our daughters with the necessary arsenal by having meaningful conversations and necessary supplies on hand.
Begin to sprinkle seeds of information about what to expect before you’re expecting your period over the course of a few years.
You don’t have to do this alone, there are many great books and resources out there. Check out a few at the end of this post.
Tampons or pads?
Deciding whether or not your daughter is ready to use tampons depends on asking a few questions:
Is she responsible enough to use tampons safely and is she OK with the idea of using them in the first place?
While many preteen girls would rather use pads when they first get their periods, some may prefer to use tampons instead.
Girls who are active in sports, or want to swim at summer camp may not want pads to interfere with their activities.
Discuss options with your daughter but ultimately allow the choice to be hers.
Make sure it’s the right fit.
We’ve come a long way baby from when we got our periods!
Not to date myself or anything, but I came into womanhood on the tail end of the belt! Anyone remember those?!
Thankfully, soon thereafter adhesive was invented! Thank you God for whoever came up with that!
The whole process goes a lot smoother when the tampons and pads are the right fit.
There are so many options to choose from these days.
Girls and teens should opt for slender tampons because they’re smaller, easier to insert, remove, and manage.
OB makes tampons without an applicator and they’re discreet to carry in their pocket.
If you’re worried about chemicals there’s the Diva Cup (No chemicals and a healthy reusable solution to disposable tampons and pads).
They’re also organic cotton tampons without chemicals.
Guide them on how to use tampons properly.
We may have forgotten how confusing it can be using a tampon!
The process doesn’t always go as smoothly as we wish (literally).
We have to remember that talking about periods can be an embarrassing and awkward subject for our daughters to talk about with us. It’s not always comfortable for us either.
One of my daughters, was totally open to talking about how things worked, We read the directions, I stood outside the door and coached her and came in after a few failed attempts to find out what the struggle was.
My other daughter said, “I got this. Thanks.”
Your daughter may be adamant that she doesn’t want you to explain any of it.
Here are a few pointers:
Remember it can take time for them to get the hang of it and most girls are nervous at first.
Reassure your daughter that when inserted properly, tampons do not hurt.
Directions are provided in each box of tampons. Go over the directions with her and ask her if she has any questions.
A small hand mirror can be helpful so she can find the vaginal opening before attempting to insert the tampon.
A common problem for many girls is they don’t realize the vagina is at an angle so they try to put it in straight up or take it out straight down. Explain this to them.
Some KY jelly can be used on the tampon beforehand to make it less painful.
Remind them that they need to wash their hands with soap before and after inserting or removing a tampon.
If they’re uncomfortable with your instruction let them read the instructions on their own and if they have any questions you’ll be there to answer them.
Another option is to provide a YouTube video. Make sure that you watch it first. There are quite a few inappropriate clips that can come up.
Here are my favorites:
How to Use a Tampon by Tampax – a tween girl explains. It’s really cute.
Choosing an Awesome Tampon for Beginners by Tampax
Books to check out:
American Girl Series
The Body Book (The Lily Series) – This is from a Christian perspective. My daughter really liked this one.
What’s Happening to My Body for Girls – Selected as a “Best Book for Young Adults” by the American Library Association geared towards 9-15 year old girls.
Celebratory Starter Kits/Gifts
Hello Flo Starter Kit – I love this website and they have hilarious videos and great information. Check it out.
Another great resource including an easy-to-read-book on menstruation and a parent’s guide on how to begin the conversation.
There’s never a perfect way to have these talks. What I do know is having some of this information would have helped things to go more smoothly.
We need to be sensitive, provide them with helpful information and pay attention to how they’re responding.
Sometimes less might be more, but just like a tucked away tampon in your back pocket, it’s always helpful to have it when you might need it!