Preparing Your Daughter for Her First Period
Do you remember when you got your first period? Was it something you totally expected or were you completely surprised? If your parents discussed it with you or if you gathered enough information from science class, you might have been thoroughly prepared. But if you weren't that lucky, feeling and seeing that first gush might not have been all that pleasant. Fortunately, such awkwardness need not happen to your daughter with you by her side. Here are some ideas on how you can prepare your daughter for her first period.
#1 Start the conversation
Children are naturally curious about their bodies. When they start asking you questions, you should be ready to give them the correct and appropriate answers. Talking to your daughter about her first period need not be a big one-off event. Give her information in small packets whenever the opportunity presents itself. In this way, the conversation flows as naturally as possible. But it is important that your daughter is already well-versed on the subject before the event is likely to happen. Once your daughter's breasts start developing, it means she's entered the puberty stage, and may get her period in two years.
#2 Run down the basics
Make sure that your daughter knows the science behind menstruation. Talk to her about the menstrual cycle: what it means and how long it usually lasts. Let her know that one period is different from another, and she might get a light, moderate, or heavy period at any given month. For the first few years, however, her menstrual cycle may be irregular, and she need not be alarmed. Again, constant communication is important so that she can raise any concerns she might have right away.
#3 Share your experience
More than the science, your daughter wants to know what having a period actually feels like. And here, you are her best source of information. Don't scare her off by saying that your period is like a curse or it's such an inconvenience. You might just end up scaring her more. Let her know instead how you've managed the slight inconveniences associated with it through the years. Explain to her, for example, that she can still do anything she wants while she has her period like work out or engage in sports. Prepare her for the possible symptoms she might experience like cramps, back pain, bloating, or acne. Assure her that these are temporary and manageable.
#4 Put together a period kit
Since the first period can come at any time and any place, you'd best prepare a period kit that your daughter can take with her anywhere she goes. Shop for a small pouch together, and fill it with a few sanitary pads and fresh underwear. This is the best time as well to give her instructions on how to put on the pads and dispose of them, along with other feminine hygiene practices.
#5 Prep her for possible mishaps
These things are bound to happen at one point or another, and for a teenager, such an incident could be the height of embarrassment. Run through what she's supposed to do when a period mishap occurs. Perhaps you can ask her teacher beforehand to assist if such an incident should happen. Her friends could help her out too.
#6 Consult your doctor
Your doctor would have his own ideas of how to approach this subject, too, so it's best to ask for his advice. Let him know as well when your daughter does get her period, and when she experiences occurrences out of the ordinary like cycles which are too short or too long, periods which are too heavy, or cramps which are too painful.