Your “little” girl has grown up well, the first signs of adolescence appear (hair, breast development) … Maybe it’s time to talk about an important subject: menstruation. But how and when to start the discussion?
Choosing the right time
Although most moms don’t bring up the subject until after the first period, it’s best to bring it up beforehand so your daughter won’t be distraught when it happens.
You can start talking about it as early as 10-11 years old (when you start college), especially since some girls start menstruating quite early (sometimes around 10 years old).
Start the conversation in a relaxed moment where you are both without the daddy, without the brother who comes to meddle: it should be a girls’ moment.
Perhaps your daughter will ask you spontaneously because her best friend has already had her period and told her about it.
How do you start the discussion?
It’s best to ask her if she’s ever heard of menstruation and what she knows about it.
If your daughter is already very aware of what the rules are, this discussion may be a good time to correct some rumours that may be false.
Explain as clearly as possible (but without going into details that may embarrass her or that she wouldn’t understand) the anatomy of women and why girls get periods every month.
Explain that the first time she will notice small brownish bleeds of varying degrees of severity.
If she starts to have a stomach ache, tell her that it may be the first signs of her future period, because it is not uncommon to feel small pains in the lower abdomen during menstruation: above all, don’t overreact, even if you had a lot of pain in your abdomen during your period, it may not be her case, and in any case, don’t scare her, there will always be time to see when it happens.
Your own experience will reassure her
Explain the cycles, making it clear that in the first few months, the periods are not very regular: they may appear once and then be absent for months, or they may be very close together. The 28-day cycles will not stabilize until later.
If your daughter seems comfortable with the subject, don’t hesitate to talk about your own experience: at what age did you get your first period? How heavy was it? Did you have a stomach ache? Were you anxious or embarrassed about your friends?
Get your daughter to ask any questions that come to mind.
Protections to reassure her
Explain that the exact timing of the arrival of menstruation cannot be predicted. Offer to bring a sanitary napkin in her things in case it happens outside the house.
Show her what a sanitary napkin looks like and how to place it properly. Tell him that it is important to change it regularly.