What to Do When My Child Has Her First Period?

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What to Do When My Child Has Her First Period?

Adolescence, a natural phase, introduces unsettling physical changes, causing concern for girls experiencing their first period, questioning its normalcy.

What Are the Signs of Menarche, and What Are Common Symptoms?

Many girls encounter their first period unexpectedly, but signs like acne, bloating, mood swings, or cramps may indicate its impending arrival. Puberty signals, such as pubic hair growth, breast development, and body shape changes, typically precede menarche.

The initial menstrual flow varies in quantity and color, ranging from brown to deep red. Menarche brings abdominal, back, and thigh cramps, bloating, acne, breast tenderness, mood and sleep changes, and digestive issues like diarrhea.

Initially, menstrual cycles may lack regularity. In the initial years, periods may start at different times each month with varying premenstrual or menstrual symptoms, including changes in bleeding volume. Over time, most girls’ cycles become more predictable, with symptoms following a more regular pattern.


 What Should I Do When My Child Starts Her Period?

Prepare menstrual hygiene products at home for your child’s first period. Discuss potential changes beforehand to avoid overwhelming feelings. Ensure understanding of menstruation’s normality and healthiness.

Create a “period kit” with pads, wet wipes, and spare underwear, ready in a drawer or backpack for school emergencies.

Celebrate the first menstrual cycle with meaningful gestures like cards, favorite desserts, or a family spa night. Consider larger celebrations if your child is interested, like gathering with friends or an overnight event. Encourage a positive and natural perspective on the transition to adulthood, avoiding feelings of shame or awkwardness.

Provide menstrual hygiene products of choice: pads, tampons, menstrual cups, or period underwear. Pads are often preferred initially for simplicity and comfort. Tampons and cups suit active girls but may need adjustment time.

Ensure understanding of usage instructions, especially for products like tampons with an 8-hour limit. Help your child choose what suits them best.

Be prepared to offer comfort: child-safe pain relievers, hot packs, or a hot water bottle. Provide comfort food and emotional support for premenstrual symptoms, acne outbreaks, and encourage open conversation about their experiences.

How Early or Late Is “Too Early” or “Too Late” to Start Menstruating?

Puberty typically occurs between 10 to 15 years, but early or delayed menarche isn’t necessarily problematic. Menstruation might start as early as 8 or 9 or as late as 15 or 16. Menarche usually follows breast development by 2 to 3 years and vaginal discharge onset by 6 to 12 months.

If signs of puberty, like breast development, appear around age 8, help your child understand and consult a pediatrician if concerned about early puberty. Healthcare providers can assess any potential issues. Similarly, if your 15-year-old hasn’t started menstruating, consider an appointment. Factors like weight, stress, and physical activity can influence the onset of the menstrual cycle.


What Are Signs of Menstrual Irregularities, and When Should I Consult a Pediatrician?

Menstrual irregularities may stem from lifestyle or medical factors. If your child experiences issues, observe for signs and consult a pediatrician if:

– No menstruation by age 15
– Menstruation starts before age 8
– Irregular cycles for over two years post-menarche
– Severe bleeding or cramps
– Periods lasting over a week
– Severe premenstrual symptoms hindering daily activities

While these symptoms may not necessarily indicate a problem, consulting a healthcare provider ensures clarity and appropriate steps for your child’s well-being.

If your child experiences frequent nosebleeds, bleeding gums, easy bruising, or has a family history of bleeding disorders, consult with a pediatrician about potential testing.

Initiate open discussions about menstruation early to alleviate anxiety. Foster a trusting environment for your child to share concerns or questions during adolescence. Tailor your approach based on their unique needs and personality, creating a calm and private space for open conversations. Be prepared to provide thoughtful and supportive answers to any questions or concerns your child may have.

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Common Questions Teens Might Ask About Menstruation:

Teens may have questions about menstruation, from duration to cycle frequency and bodily changes. Answer honestly, reassure, and provide clear explanations.

Handling Emotional Reactions and Anxiety:

Adolescence and menstruation can stir emotions in teens, causing anxiety and confusion. Be attentive, offer comfort, and assure your child that experiencing various emotions is normal.

Providing Support and Assurance:

Throughout the conversation, emphasize unconditional support for your child. Assure them of your availability for guidance or discussions about any aspect of the menstrual process.


UNICEF.  Talking About Periods at Home. www.unicef.org/parenting/health/talking-about-periods-at-home

ACOG.Menstruation in Girls and Adolescents: Using the Menstrual Cycle as a Vital Sign.www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2015/12/menstruation-in-girls-and-adolescents-using-the-menstrual-cycle-as-a-vital-sign


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