When you started out on your parenting journey, you probably did lots of research and prepared yourself for all the developmental milestones and leaps. You researched diapers and bottles and sleep regressions. But as parenting goes on, the challenges and changes never stop. One big change that is sure to come for many parents is your child’s first period. As your child starts puberty, and starts menstruating, you need to be prepared for lots of questions and offer lots of support during those first periods. Are you prepared with the right tools and words to support them? We’re here to help.
When it comes first periods, language matters
One way we can support our kids as the learn about their changing bodies and menstruation, is by using the right words. Even the word ‘period’ can be confusing and make it seem like we aren’t really meant to share these things. From the time my kids were toddlers and walking in on me in the bathroom, I’ve chosen to call it ‘bleeding time’. This is a term that makes sense, is direct, and doesn’t hold a lot of shame. Its matter of fact.
Sure, it wasn’t my favorite thing when my 3 year old shouted at the playground, “is it cause you’re on your bleeding time, Mama?!” when I declined to go on the teeter totter one day. But I know that her not feeling shame or embarrassment about her body one day starts with how I speak about my own, so I just put on a smile, and said, “yes honey, thanks for understanding”.
Using the right words, and speaking matter of factly about what is happening during menstruation sets our kids up for success throughout their first periods and many years of adulthood navigating menstrual health.
What tools to introduce
When I got my first period, my sweet, single Dad picked me up from a sleepover with I swear what looked like every period product the store had. But, I didn’t get a lot of help at home with what to do with them.
For first periods, many people feel most comfortable using a menstrual pad. The confidence and knowledge to us tampons or menstrual cups often doesn’t come until later. If you choose to introduce these products, be sure to offer lots of support.
When choosing a menstrual pad, you may choose to introduce disposable, or cloth pads, or a combination of both.
Disposable pads are great for convenience and ease of use. Cloth pads are a more ecofriendly option, are often more comfortable, and also help to destigmatize first periods. Talk to your child openly about what they are most comfortable with and offer the options in person. It helps to be able to see and ask questions about these tools before using them. Lil Helper Hyps and Combo bags make for a great starting point for both cloth menstrual pads and storing pads on the go, whether you use cloth or disposable.
Enlist other mentors to help with first periods
If there is another person in your child’s life they might be more comfortable talking to about first periods, enlist their help! Talk to them beforehand, and be supportive. It takes a village to raise a child, and you might be surprised by the people in your life ready to step up and offer support.
Periods should be seen as a normal part of the human experience. Both men and women should be educated on menstruation, and there should be no stigma. That’s why Uncle Mo doesn’t shy away from being the spokesperson for our Hyps! Find all his content on TikTok @lilhelpertiktok
Still have questions on how to support someone through first periods? Let us know in the comments below!