Some girls begin as early as ten years old with their first period. It is not as uncommon as you might think. If you started that early, chances are your daughter will experience much the same thing.
The average age is around twelve or thirteen, but preparing her will begin earlier than that. She may have heard some of her friends talk about getting their periods and how they are looking forward to it. She may be excited too or a little scared at what it actually entails.
Use her attitude as a gauge for deciding when to begin the discussion. Begin with the basics. Discuss why menstruation occurs. It is the body’s way of preparing for a child. In earlier times, women had children younger than they do now.
Talk about ovulation. This is the time when an egg is released from the ovaries and travels down to the uterus. If it doesn’t implant, it sheds and that is the bleeding that occurs during menstruation. The bleeding usually lasts for three to five days and can go from light to heavy to light again.
Discuss what she will feel in her body during that time. Mostly she will feel cramps as the lining sheds. They can be quite painful especially if you aren’t used to them. Her breasts may get tender and she may experience mood swings.
This is not to scare her but to inform her so she won’t wonder what is going on. Bloating can make her clothing not fit well, but let her know that it is only temporary. Pain relievers help with the cramping and the breast tenderness.
Now that she knows the process and how she will feel, she needs to know how to take care of herself. Discuss options for her period – sanitary napkins and tampons. It used to be a myth that girls couldn’t use tampons unless they have had sex. This is untrue of course.
Tampons are usually preferred by young girls because they are less messy and bulky. Talk about the different absorbencies and also how to put them in. sanitary napkins can be worn at night or on lighter flow days. She can make the choice from what is on the market and comfortable for her.
This is a special time of her life. Teach her what is going on with her body and how to embrace it. It is better that she hears it from you so that she has no misunderstandings.