How Do I Prepare Daughter for Her First Period?

Updated on June 18, 2010
L.T. asks from North Richland Hills, TX
12 answers

My DD is 10-years-old. Her Ped said I should have "the talk" soon about menses because she might be getting close to starting her period.

Are there books or other resources out there to help me with this. We have a great relationship, so I feel confident in talking with her -- I just want to make sure I give her the right amount of appropriate information for her age.

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answers from Dallas on

When I was a kid decades ago, there was a series of books available from the doctor's office to explain any number of topics including menstruation. I haven't seen them in ages though.

Another resource we had then was that the sanitary napkin companies had a starter kit you could send away for that explained everything and provided a few supplies, too. Here's a link from Tampax about talking with your daughter ( Here's a link from the Always people (

In my school, it was a big deal in 5th grade that all of the girls were taken to the auditorium for a talk by the school nurse about "becoming a woman". The boys all went out to play kickball or something. It wasn't a sex talk per se, but she did show us slide of female reproductive anatomy and explain simply the menstrual cycle.

I also remember that my mother and I were invited with all the other girls to an evening session for a similar talk. I think it was given by the Modess people, a company that hasn't been around in years. That may have been through our Girl Scout Council though.

In my day, which wasn't that long ago, it was sanitary pads and belts. What a mess! It was like waddling around with a boat between your legs and you always had to be careful what you wore because you didn't want the outline of the sanitary belt to show through your clothes. Of course we couldn't wear pants to school in those days yet, but there was a lot of polyester skirts and dresses out there then.

The girls' network then sent out the word that The Diary of Anne Frank had a section in it where she talks about getting her period. My mom was my greatest resource though. She was very open and honest about talking with me and providing me what stuff was out there by following my natural curiosity. In those days, the presence of a big machine in the ladies' room that sold sanitary napkins eventually peaked any girl's curiosity to ask what was so special about those napkins and why they were in the bathroom.

My daughters both read the Judy Blume book in school. I guess that's how they learned. I remember them reading it and I've always wondered why they never came to me for that first talk. I have had many subsequent talks with them though. My younger daughter was also given a tape named something like "What every girl wants to know about sex" which she watched repeatedly. She used to also love to show it when she had sleep overs much to my chagrin.

You might want to check the public library and see what CD's or tapes they have available which might be appropriate. If you have friends with children the same age who are facing the same discussion, you might consider having a mother-daughter tea of something of the sort so that you can all watch a short movie and then chat about it. It doesn't need to be intense. Our menstrual cycle is a naturally occurring process, and it's very important for a young girl to know what to expect and what it is all about.

Even with all the preparation, the first day of my first period was a farce. It started at school and I had no supplies with me, so I spent the whole afternoon making trips to the bathroom to replace the wads of toilet paper I was using. Luckily, it was the afternoon I had home ec. Then when I got home to my supplies, I couldn't remember which one you could flush and which one (pad or tampon) you couldn't, so I took a chance and it was the wrong choice. I went to my parents' bathroom to get the plunger, and my dad came running in to fix the problem I knew how to fix. He saw what was happening and turned on his heel to get my mother. Mom swept me off in the car to go shopping and congratulated me on "being a woman". In the meantime, my two younger brothers were having a ball with my little incident.

My mom decided I should/could stay home from school the next day. She had classes, so I was home alone at age 12. I got adventurous and decided to try one of her tampons. It all went great until it was time to change it. I couldn't get it out and I was freaking about having to explain to my mom that I had a tampon stuck in me and couldn't get it out. I finally chilled out enough that my vaginal muscles relaxed and it came out, but I was in a panic for a while there.

Mom was good on theory, but there was some practical information I could have used back then.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My advice would be to be completely open and honest with her. I had a hysterectomy in 01 so I (conveneintly and happily forgot about cramps, LOL) went out to buy products for her and tried to find what she might like. I bought different brands and styles of pads and tampons. She figured out what works best for her.

My soon to be 14 yr old started at age 12. I had prepped her for the possibility of starting at school (HUGE FEAR ISSUE THERE) and how she might feel. I did have her start carrying something with her in 6th grade just in case she or a friend needed it as well. I assured her that her female teachers would understand.

She did start at school one day and she was prepared. She text messaged me "I started" .

Another thing is to help her keep a good calendar to record her cycle. I do this and when so goes in for a checkup or whatever with her pedi, I have a copy for her files.

Best wishes to you daughter, they grow up too fast.



answers from Dallas on

I started our talks with them carrying a small bag in the bottom of their backpack. Because I started late, I told them that many of their friends maybe ahead of them in starting their cycles. We discussed how theie friends may not be prepared and how they could them out by being prepared. We packed a clean pair of panties, a pad, and a tampon, in a small flowered bag. We put it under the cardboard bottom of their backpack where only they would know it was. Talking about how it may occur with their friends, took the "oh gross" factor out of it. Low and behold, ours were the ones that needed the supplies. Guess what, they were prepared and not embarrassed. I was the one shocked and very thankful that we had prepared. Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

I would go to Barnes and Noble or other bookstores and look through the books on puberty-the books written for kids. I have seen several there, but can't give you titles. I would buy one to have to give to your dd sometime soon.

Also, when you talk to her, don't just sit down all "serious" with nothing else to do. Have a series of talks with her while you guys are doing something together, in relative privacy, like baking cookies or taking a walk around the neighborhood. Be sure to start off asking her what she knows about puberty, what happens to people's bodies as they grow up, etc. YOu will know by what she tells you how much info. she needs. Be sure to look through the book together and talk about its contents with her.

For me, it will be important that my daughter gain a sense of wonder and pride in what her body will do and be capable of as a result of puberty. I want my daughter to know that it is Her body and she is the one responsible for keeping it healthy and strong. I want my daughter to feel that her body is beautiful and sacred.

Good luck and enjoy this journey to adulthood that is right around the corner.



answers from Dallas on

Honestly, buy her a copy of "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret." My mom bought me the book when I was 10, after we had an initial conversation about periods and this is what I plan on doing with my daughter. Reading this book gave me a wonderful opportunity to ask my mom questions.

This book is a timeless classic, age-appropriate, and just an incredibly fun read.

Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

my daughter just turned ten last month, to prepare for this milestone i went to barnes and noble and bought two books about puberty for girls from the american girls collection. we read them together, the books are informative and have point of view reads from girls her own age, i highly recommend them!



answers from Dallas on

Your Public Library will have many books to choose from..

Good Luck. I am right there with you.. I have a 10 year old set of twins..Boy/Girl...And they are full of questions.



answers from Dallas on

I second the advice of buying "Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret" by Judy Blume. This is a wonderful coming of age book.

I'd like to add the book "The Care and Keeping of You", that book goes through all the stages of a young girls body it speaks to young girls in way they can understand and relate. My 10 year old and I have read this book and she still looks over it for "reference" when she sees even the slightest change in her body.

My 8 year old and I will start reading this book next summer, just before she turns 9.



answers from Washington DC on

Have a friend who is grandpa and raising his granddaughter since she was one she is now 13. what books do you suggest for him to buy for himself? On this subject of her period? So he will know what is going on with her too?He has no clue. And he is in his late sixties. Took his daughter to court 12 years ago and took custody of the baby girl. She has not had her first period yet. But she is very testy all of a sudden talking mean to her grandpa etc.



answers from Dallas on

When my daughter was nine I bought her the My Beauty My Body books from Lifeway Christian store. She read them and then we discussed things together. She is now eleven and still hasn't started but we both know that she will anyday and honestly we just talked the other day and I feel like she is REALLY prepared. Much better than I was at her age!!



answers from Dallas on

I bought my ten year old the American Girl's "Care and Keeping of You" book. It is FANTASTIC! Of course, mine read about breasts and then menstruation. I have recommended it to other moms as well. Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

American Girl has a book called The Care and Keeping of You. It is a great book and designed so she can read it alone or with you. It covers everything from getting pubic hair, needing to wear deodorant and other pre-teen body changes. Also, it is a great idea to start now and talk about the different types of tampons, pads, etc. so she can decide wha she wants to use. This way she can have some on-hand (keep in her purse/boookbag) in case she starts at school she will know what to do.

My daughter didn't start until after her 14th birthday, but it never hurts to be prepared!

Good luck!

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