Guest post by Lunapads.com
Her First Period: 6 Tips to Help Girls Feel Positive and Prepared
It’s one of parenthood’s most anticipated-yet-feared moments: your daughter starting her first period. What are some tips and tricks for ensuring that she has the best experience possible?
- Start early. Whether she has actually started her period or not, there’s a lot to learn and talk about beforehand. While most of the “details” will be covered in school health classes, opening up the conversation for her to be able to talk freely about how she’s feeling or ask questions is key. Researching product options together is a great way to boost her confidence around starting. Above all, openly talking about your own period is one of the most positive things you can do to normalize menstruation and set the standard for open period talk.
- Be positive. Periods may not be the most fun or convenient things in the world, especially for active kids, however a good attitude can go a long way towards making the experience as good as possible. How does your daughter feel about menarche (or if she has already started, periods and her cycle overall)? There is lots of opportunity for body-shame to creep in at the onset of menstruation: nip it in the bud by making it clear that it’s a safe and even fascinating topic to explore.
- Encourage body literacy. Using correct terms for anatomy can go a long way to decrease shame and discomfort. Ensure that she knows all her parts (Vagina, Vulva, Clitoris, Labia etc.) and what they’re for. Purchase a small hand mirror and encourage self-discovery – this will make future tampon or menstrual cup use much less scary. Another important distinction to make is between periods and the full menstrual cycle: all too often the former grabs all of the attention, when it’s only part of a bigger picture: encourage her to tune into herself at all times of the month: our full menstrual cycle is about so much more than just periods.
- Go natural. Like many other personal care habits that will last a lifetime (or at least most of one!), it pays to start off on the right foot with organic or reusable products. Due to their still-immature immune systems, girls are the most vulnerable candidates for Toxic Shock Syndrome, a rare yet extremely serious condition most commonly associated with tampon use. While tampons may be (so far) the only option for swim practice, make sure that they’re organic, and consider reusable options for other situations.
- Be prepared. First periods can be erratic and unpredictable: make sure that your girl has a small stash of products and extra underwear in her backpack and locker, and that you’re also prepared by keeping a small kit in your bag and/or vehicle. We recommend Teeny Pantyliners for spotting, Mini Pad & Inserts for average flow, and ARTEMIS leak-proof underwear for those “just in case” days, or as backup with Lunapads or disposable products. Be sure to also pick up a reusable carry bag that she can use to transport her supplies in.
- Consider celebrating. If it feels good to your daughter, have a celebration to commemorate this wonderful transition. While “First Period Parties” have recently (and sadly, in our opinion) been mocked in the mainstream media, Rite of Passage events have occurred at adolescence throughout history and around the world. Do some research with your daughter to learn about various traditions, and see whether she feels inspired to create something for herself. While not specifically a first period event, if there happens to be a G Day event in your community, send her: it’s a wonderful way to welcome her into this wonderful new phase of life, whether she has started her period or not.
These are just some suggestions as to how you and your daughter can be proactive and prepared. Do you or did you have any plans for helping your daughter feel prepared for her first period?
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