How to prepare your daughter for her first period

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How to help your daughter prepare for her period or menstrual cycle

Every woman remembers how daunting and frightening it was when they had their first period. Here’s how you can make sure that you daughter tackles this challenge effortlessly.

By Grace Mantjiu

While many moms maybe nervous about their daughter’s first period, some look forward to this milestone because it means that their little girl is all ‘grown-up’. Although we know that this is not strictly true, in some way, having periods marks the beginning of womanhood. Take this milestone in your daughter’s life as a good time to teach her some valuable life-lessons.

Young girls mostly turn to their friends or the internet for information and advice, and this may not be what you would like her to know. So how do you start the conversation?

  • Start the conversation by talking about your first period and how you learned to cope. Give her the chance to ask questions and don’t be shy to give her honest answers
  • Remind your daughter that starting their period is not something to be embarrassed about, it’s natural to have this experience and that every girl goes through this.
  • Your daughter does not have to go see a gynaecologist when she has her first period – unless it’s for a friendly chat and you have the confidence that they will give your daughter sound advice about reproductive health.

Midwife and Kotex health expert Sister Burgie Ireland shares some tips on how you can make it easy for your daughter regarding this first step of womanhood. Here are things to remember while talking to her:

  • Not all girls develop at the same pace and time. While some girls may have their period as young as nine, others may only have their first period at 18.
  • Periods are naturally unpredictable in the first two years. They can be irregular and different each time – sometimes light and other times heavy and painful
  • A period starts about two weeks after ovulation (when the egg leaves the comfort-zone of the ovary). Teach her to look out for these signs; this is mostly a wet-panty-feeling with a clear slippery vaginal discharge.
  • Don’t assume that she knows how to use the sanitary wear correctly. Teach your daughter how to wear a pad or tampon and remind her to change it every four hours.
  • Teach your daughter not to expect her period on the same date every month. This is because periods come in cycles rather than months. A cycle is calculated from the date of one period until the date of the next period. Sometimes the interval between periods is shorter (about 21 days) and sometimes a cycle can be longer (up to 60 days), but on average periods are spaced about 28 – 30 days apart.

Tip: Use a period planner to help her know when to expect her period in order to be prepared. It also tracks ovulation and helps make sense of those mood swings and food cravings. Kotex has helpful planner or you can download a period planner app here