I’m sure we all remember that crazy, confusing and messy time in our lives; starting our period. I seem to remember everyone wanted to start their period in a rush to grow up! Now, I can bet we would all trade in our periods in a heartbeat, for a text from Mother Nature letting us know we’re not pregnant.
Whilst they may seem like not-so-fond distant memories for many of us, the chances are you are relieving that time in your life if you have a pre-teen or teenage daughter. If you’ve stumbled across this blog you’re probably looking for a few ways you can help her tackle her first period with ease, comfort and openness.
With young girls starting their periods earlier and earlier, even as young as 9 years old, it can’t hurt to be prepared. So here’s a quick overview of what you can do to help when your daughter gets her first period...
How to help your daughter get ready for her first period
Remind her that it is natural and normal
When you first start your period it can all seem quite daunting. There’s blood, bloodstains, cramping and mood swings, not to mention facing your first tampon. To help put your daughter's mind at ease, remind her that the changes happening to her body are completely natural, and how she is feeling is utterly normal.
What she’ll need for her first period
You might be ahead of the game and already have a selection of period products for your daughter's first period, but if not, not to worry. Here is a quick list…
- Pads: This is probably the easiest and most favourable product for a first period. They are easy to use, and unlike tampons, aren’t too fiddly.
- Period pants: They are super absorbent underwear that will make the perfect addition to her arsenal for night-time use. Ultra soft, ultra comfy, and they are reusable!
- Tampons: Whilst she may not want to use a tampon on her first period, getting her a box and introducing her to how to insert them and what their benefits are will arm her with information and options. Getting used to inserting a tampon can make the ordeal easier when she next wants to go swimming or to the beach when she’s on her period.
- FabLittleBags: FabLittleBags are perfect for when you are starting out with your first period, and especially when your first period happens at school. They are small sustainable disposal bags that offer an easy, hygienic and discreet way of disposing of pads and tampons and all the wrappers. Plus, FabLittleBags are the perfect talking point for encouraging her to be a ‘binner’ and not a ‘flusher’, and prevent her period products from entering the lakes, oceans and rivers. Start as you mean to go on!
- Pain killers: Periods, cramping and headaches unfortunately come hand in hand, so stocking up on a few packets of ibuprofen can help make her feel more comfortable.
- Hot water bottle: An essential in my opinion! A hot water bottle can help ease the bloated and crampy feelings that come with a period, and can help her drift off to sleep in more comfort.
Introducing her to all of these period products before her first period can also ease her into the process. Let her open a tampon, get familiar with pads and try on the period pants.
Eliminate the unknown
One of the reasons we find our first period so overwhelming is that it is all unknown, and all of the sensations and products are brand new. One of the ways you can help to eliminate the unknown is to arm her with all the information, advice and tips she needs. If you both feel comfortable, try sharing your own experiences with her, what to expect in the way of symptoms (tender breasts, cramping, headaches, mood swings), and the homegrown advice that you found has helped you over the years. However, talking periods can be a daunting experience in itself, so if she feels more comfortable, a helpful book explaining periods could be a perfect alternative. I will link a few of my favourites at the bottom!
The science behind periods
As well as giving her everyday advice on how to cope with her first period, giving her the science behind why she is having a period can help make her feel more at ease. When it comes to information, more is definitely more. Sex education in schools has come a long way, so she may well know a varying degree of factual information about periods already, but it can’t hurt to fill in any gaps and be there if she has any further questions. If you need to scrub up on the facts, the NHS website can give you a helping hand with all the information you need.
Periods come with symptoms such as cramping and headaches, but there are symptoms that she may or may not experience before her period even starts. This is called PMS (premenstrual syndrome). These can include physical symptoms such as feeling bloated, breast tenderness, spotty skin or greasy hair, and emotional symptoms such as feeling irritable.
Explaining these tell-tell signs of her upcoming period can help her spot when she is about to start, and make her feel more in control. However, it may also be worth mentioning that it may take a while for her body to find its rhythm, so not to necessarily expect her periods every month from the first time.
Helpful books for your first period...
The Period Book: A Girls Guide To Growing Up by Karen Gravelle age
The Care Of Keeping You: The Body Book For Younger Girls by Valorie Schafer
Girls Guide To Becoming A Teen by American Medical Association