Periods. No one likes talking about periods.
One of the most terrifying things to do as a mother, is to have the talk with your daughter about periods. Or, simply the changes that are currently going on (or about to) in her body.
I remember when my mother tried to talk to me about periods back in 2002. It was the most embarrassing experience for me just by her uttering the word “period”. Its something I completely dreaded and rather wished I was a boy.
I remember seeing my treats started to grow, with my areola’s getting hard and really starting to hurt.
Becoming a woman, for me, was not a fun experience at all. As mothers, it is our role and responsibilities to guide our daughters in the right direction. To teach her what she needs to know about her body. However often our girls hear bias and misinformed opinions from media or her peers at school. Your daughter is going to see a lot of misguided information on Facebook. Not to mention the inevitable photos of models on Instagram are going to make her wonder if she’s worthy enough.
This is today’s society. It is our job, as mothers, to make sure that we our teaching our daughters’ their worth. We need to teach them how to protect, treat and understand their bodies from a young age.
It is most likely that she is going to have negative feelings towards her first period. But this is why your role is SO IMPORTANT in helping her prepare for womanhood.
You are the one who makes her feel safe, who cares for her and would do anything to protect her. This is why you are the one who needs to be talking to her about puberty.
Here are some tips on the best way to talk to your daughter about her changing body and menstrual hygiene:
1. Teach her about periods
The best way to introduce a topic is always through story telling.
When I am talking to schoolgirls about puberty and about their periods, I introduce a character to them. I take them on a journey with the character. What she experiences and what she goes through. How she manages her period and the emotions she experiences. But always start with the basics about what she is going to expect during her period.
It is important to let her know that the physical changes she is experiencing is completely normal.
Don’t forget to tell her the main function of a period, which is to prepare her body for a baby. A lot of parents forget this crucial fact. Remember to also tell her that its possible to still have babies when she is on her period.
2. Introduce feminine hygiene products
Tampon, Pad, Menstrual Cup – what’s that?
As a mother, you have complete influence over the menstrual hygiene products your daughter uses. I have heard from tons of mothers in my talks “I won’t let me daughter use a tampons because it will break her hymen.”
Your daughter isn’t going to know what products are available to her until you introduce them to her. You are her main source of legitimate information. You have taught her almost everything you know. Now, she is counting on you to give her the best possible advice when it comes to her managing her period.
One of the mistakes you should avoid making is: Only introducing menstrual hygiene products to your daughter when she gets her first period.
You want to do it way in advance so she’s already mentally prepared for this change and what her options are.
Share the products you have used and tell her about the new products on the market that are more sustainable, such as menstrual cups, period panties and reusable sanitary pads.
You should learn how to use all of these products and then show her how to use properly them. If you’re a mom who is comfortable with breaking away from the traditional and disposable sanitary products, you may want to try Elle Cup.
Menstrual cups are a much safer alternative to traditional sanitary products. They are completely biocompatible and are naturally antibacterial, which means they don’t promote the growth of any bacterial infections.
Menstrual cups also don’t have any harmful chemicals such as traditional sanitary products.
3. Remind her to change her pads regularly
The most difficult thing for your daughter is always if she gets her period before her friends or peers.
She has to go through these changes by herself and often feels hindered in activities like swimming or sports when she has her period.
Luckily, with a menstrual cup she won’t have to worry about these hindrances either. Its the perfect period product to swim with, play sport with and to keep hygienic at all times. You need to teach your daughter about correct hygiene associated with her period.
When blood comes into contact with air, the blood oxidizes and that is what causes the “metallic or fishy” smell of a period. If your daughter uses, or is going to uses pads or tampons, it is important that you teach her to change regularly to avoid odor.
Also buy her some packs of feminine hygiene wipes so she can remain fresh and hygienic during the day. Try your best to making her feel comfortable talking about her period, and try your best not to associated shame or embarrassment with periods.
It’s important you also share with her hygiene practices to avoid any vaginal infections or irritations, as there are dangers associated with sanitary pads.
4. Provide her with her very own starter kit
When talking to your daughter about menstruation, the changes her body is about to go through, or is already going through, you will want to give her a starter kit.
You can give her a start kit that includes a combination of products, so she feels she has options.
I would give her an Elle Cup kit as well as a pair of period panties, or alternatively, whatever she would like to try. Ask her what she would prefer trying, rather than giving her what you have used in the past.
5. Encourage her to keep track of her periods
If your daughter is an athlete, a netball player, or captain of the hockey team, something which is common to expect is irregular periods.
Her hormones are everywhere, and sometimes, so are their periods. This is not uncommon at all.
It’s important that she learns to track her period and that she should expect her period every 28 days, from the first day of her cycle. If she keeps track of her cycle, she is more likely to expect the time when she will experience her next period, and always be prepared to have her Elle Cup, or period panties on when she starts her period.
Encourage your daughter to keep her sanitary products in her bag a few days before she expects her period just to be safe.