Preparation does not end at making your daughter familiar with the what, when and why of menstruation. In fact, it begins there. To make her truly ready for the changes that come with menstruation, you will also have to cover some practical basics or tasks of going through the monthly affair. Some possible steps could be.
A period kit can be a very helpful tool and even a fun gift for your daughter. You can add sanitary pads, liners, tampons, extra underwear, cloth, newspaper and disposal covers in a portable bag or box that she can carry to school and everywhere else. Make it with her together so she can be informed and her requirements are always accessible to her. It is also a good idea to demonstrate how to wear a sanitary napkin or give her a sense of how tampons and cups are used so that she is not clueless when she starts bleeding. These little steps can go a long way in making her periods hassle-free.
Use of sanitary protection when she is close to her periods
Provide her access to material like liners, cloth pads, sanitary pads, etc. to wear on the days leading up to the period. Make sure she learns to do this naturally so that she is protected against emergencies. This can also make her responsible and help her adapt quickly.
Managing leaks and emergencies
Discuss the possible steps she can follow to solve a leakage situation or an emergency. Inform her that the first thing she should do is calm down and not panic. Add extra clothing in her period kit and make sure she maintains the kit at all times. For times when she does not have a sanitary napkin, make her come up with ideas of things like toilet paper, tissue paper, etc that she can use instead for the time being. This allows her to remember solutions instantly, instead of her having to think under pressure. Insist that she can call you or ask her close friends for help. Empower her so that she does not feel embarrassed when she faces a leak and learns how to handle it instead.
Take note of the symptoms
Once your daughter starts her cycles, encourage her to pay attention to symptoms both just before periods and during them. Discuss whether she has cramps or headaches, if she has discharge before periods, if she feels more tired before getting her period, or if she experiences severe discomfort. Also take note of how many days her bleeding lasts, the amount of bleeding on each day, the duration after which she needs a sanitary napkin change, etc. This helps her stay alert for her next period, understand her body and take care of herself well.
When your daughter begins to menstruate after a few months, you can pay a visit to your gynecologist. Ask for an overall check-up to make sure everything is normal. Encourage your daughter to open up to her doctor and form a transparent, trustworthy doctor-patient relationship. This will help her be fully prepared, and will also let her know of a reliable person to discuss issues, ask questions or consult if she wishes to.
Illustrator: Priyanka Tampi