Do you remember getting your period as a young girl, along with the mixed bag of emotions that came with that first time? If you were lucky, you had someone alongside you, to guide you and provide as much information as you could handle at what is, (let’s face it) an awkward stage of being a young pre-teen girl.
We’ve put together some handy tips to help you prepare your daughter for her first period, regardless of whether you’re a mother, father or caregiver. If it’s facts about her body or questions about what she needs to use, be honest, be transparent and be prepared!
As you're reading along, keep an eye out for some discount codes to use on some of our recommended products below.
You know your child best
Sure, right now she’s a bit of a hormonal mess, trying to understand a bunch of confusing changes going on in her mind and body, but you know your child best. Have confidence in that. She might prefer talking to you about everything, reading about it all on a site or a book you guide her toward, or want to talk things through with a family friend. Either way, have some faith in your ability to know what she’ll need in this confusing time.
This is also a good time to reflect on aspects such as your family values, your beliefs about raising children, your culture or religion. There may be additional aspects to periods you need to discuss that wouldn’t occur to others. Every family is unique and every relationship within that family reflects this. You do you!
Give her the facts
We know that the changes that come with puberty can be confusing, menstruation included. If girls don’t have a complete understanding of how their reproductive system works and what actually happens during their period, the whole thing can become even more mysterious. Do some research if you need to, but make sure you sum up the basics, and be prepared for questions (or deathly silence and a red-faced pre-teen - don’t worry, this is also normal!) If she's more of a reader than a talker you can give her something to read and let her know she can come back to you with any further questions.
Period. A Girl's Guide by JoAnn Loulan, Bonnie Worthen
The start of hormonal changes can be troubling, even traumatic, for young girls. Now fully revised and updated with a parents' guide, Period explains in a straightforward manner the changes all girls go through, answers common questions, and includes a brief description of a pelvic exam. For parents who do not know how or where to begin this discussion, here are ideas to get them started. A detachable Parent's Guide will lead them through the learning process for themselves and their daughters, and even their sons.
Purchase From: Book Depository
HelloFlo: The Guide. Period. by Naama Bloom
Honest, funny, and unafraid of the messy, real-life facts about a girl's changing body. This full-color book — written by HelloFlo founder, Naama Bloom, and journalist Glynnis MacNicol, features bright, diverse, approachable illustrations and infographics, doctor-vetted information, and personal testimonials from real girls and women. A celebration of women's bodies and all the confusing, uncomfortable, silly, transformative, and powerful changes that occur during puberty. 'When will I get boobs? Does wearing a tampon hurt? What's the deal with menstrual cups? Seriously, when will I get boobs?'
"What we love most about this book (which we'll be gifting to our tween cousins, nieces, and daughters!) is the empowering message woven throughout: that 'your body is your body,' as Bloom puts it, and you're the only one who gets to decide what to do with it." — Health.com
Purchase From: Book Depository
The Period Book by Karen Gravelle
Karen Gravelle and her fifteen-year-old niece, Jennifer Gravelle, have written a down-to-earth practical book that answers any questions your girl might have about your period, from what it is and what it feels like, to how to choose a form of protection, and how to talk to parents about it. The Period Book will guide her through all the physical, emotional and social changes that come with your period, as well as related issues such as dealing with spots, mood swings and new expectations from friends and family. Debbie Palen's funny and sympathetic cartoons ease the confusion and exasperation she might feel and celebrate the new sense of power and maturity that a period can bring. Perfect for sharing, The Period Book is a trusty friend that can help you feel happy and confident about this new phase in her life.
Purchase From: Book Depository
Period Talk presented by Share the Dignity
If she's not much of a reader then Period Talk might be a good option. Period Talk is a fully comprehensive, fun, engaging and informative menstruation specific education program aimed at BOYS and GIRLS in years 5-8 (ages 9-13). Whilst it was designed to be used in schools, it's also a great option to use at home as well. For any teachers reading this, definitely look into it - it's a complete stand alone resource that can be taught over four weeks - but when using this at home it can be followed at your own pace. The videos are purposefully presented by kids for kids and cover every menstruation topic imaginable: the cycles; periods and the environment; PMS; nutrition, pain management and stretches; sanitary products – which, what, how, when & where; what happens to our bodies and our minds; boys and periods; how different cultures manage their periods; periods and the homeless; and what a healthy period should look like.
Tools of the trade
Let’s talk necessities.
Panty liners: A thin, disposable pad placed inside the underwear that can be used at the end of a period or between periods to catch catch vaginal discharge.
Tsuno Panty Liners
Price: AUD$5.80 ($5.51 subscription)
Why We Love It: Probably the thing we love most about Tsuno pads and liners is that they are made from natural bamboo and corn fibre. Bamboo is one of the most eco-friendly and sustainable fibres on the planet due to its fast growth-rate, low demand on resources and natural resistance to pests and fungi. They are also chlorine and dioxin bleach free and are individually wrapped in biodegradable plastic! In addition to creating an awesome product, Tsuno donates 50% of profits to One Girl, an organisation on a mission to educate 1 million girls! (Read more about the Tsuno and One Girl partnership here).
Purchase From: Tsuno
LOLA Ultra Thin Liners
Why We Love It: LOLA Ultra Thin Liners are made with 100% organic cotton, have an edge-to-edge adhesive for a secure fit and are hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested. LOLA is another subscription service company that gives back. Since the launch of LOLA in 2015, over 100,000 feminine care products have been donated to low-income women and girls across the United States.
Purchase From: LOLA
TOM Organic Ultra Thin Panty Liners
Why We Love It: TOM Organic Ultra Thin Panty Liners are 100% biodegradable and are made with 100% ACO* certified organic cotton containing no synthetics or dyes. They are hypoallergenic for sensitive skin and are not tested on animals, cruelty free & vegan. We also love that you can pick up TOM products from your local Coles and Woolworths!
*ACO=Australian Certified Organic
Pads: Disposable absorbent pads that are placed inside the underwear to catch the period. They come in variations such as ultra thin, regular, super and overnight, with or without wings. Most girls will need a variety of pads during their period depending on how light or heavy their flow is, usually a more absorbent pad is needed at the beginning. While many women require the use of an overnight pad for bed, they might be too big for your daughter in which case you could try a super pad instead.
Tsuno Natural Bamboo Regular Pads
Price: AUD$6.10 ($5.80 subscription)
Why We Love It: Tsuno Natural Bamboo Regular Pads are breathable, antibacterial and super-absorbent, they are also super-soft and super-comfortable, and have wings and a bottom layer of breathable, biodegradable PLA +PBAT material to prevent any leaks.
Like the liners, the artwork of an Australia designer/artist is featured on each recyclable cardboard box and the pads are individually wrapped in biodegradable plastic.
Purchase From: Tsuno
LOLA Ultra Thin Pads w/Wings
Why We Love It: LOLA Ultra Thin Pads are made with 100% organic cotton and are available in both day or night options. They are absorbent, yet breathable, hypoallergenic and have thin wings wrap for a secure fit. Like all LOLA subscriptions you get free shipping and cancel at anytime.15% OFF YOUR FIRST SUBSCRIPTION ORDER WITH CODE FIRST15
Purchase From: LOLA
TOM Organic Ultra Thin Regular Pads
Why We Love It: TOM Organic Ultra Thin Pads are perfect for a regular flow throughout the day. TOM products are available from your local supermarket or can be purchased as via a subscription service as well.
Tampons: Small cotton tube that’s inserted into the vagina to absorb the period. Comes with or without an applicator. Different variations work for body types, shapes and sizes. If your girl is comfortable trying a tampon, we recommend starting with the smallest size available first. If she is having some trouble inserting the tampon, you may want to consider an applicator option which can make all the difference for first time users.
Tsuno Mini Tampons
Price: AUD$6.50 ($6.18 subscription)
Why We Love It: Tsuno Mini Tampons are suitable for a light flow with approximately 8g absorbency. They are made from 100% GOTS* certified organic cotton, and are chlorine and dioxin bleach free. Like all Tsuno products, 50% of profits are donated to One Girl.
*GOTS= Global Organic Textile Standard.
Purchase From: Tsuno
LOLA Compact Plastic Applicator Tampons - Light
Why We Love It: LOLA Compact Tampons are 100% organic cotton tampons in compact BPA-free plastic applicators. While they are available in light, regular, super, and super+ sizes, we recommend starting with the light box first. LOLA also has a cardboard applicator option which is completely biodegradable but they are not available for a light flow.15% OFF YOUR FIRST SUBSCRIPTION ORDER WITH CODE FIRST15
Purchase From: LOLA
TOM Organic Mini Tampons
Why We Love It: TOM Organic Mini Tampons are perfect for light flow periods or on the first or last days of a period. They are made from 100% ACO certified organic cotton (100% biodegradable), with no synthetics or dyes. We love that TOM products are not tested on animals, and cruelty free & vegan friendly.
Menstrual cups: A re-usable cup that is inserted into the vagina to catch the period, made of flexible, medical grade silicon. Similar use to a tampon (but better for the environment and can be worn for up to eight hours!) Because every body is different it may take a few purchases to find the cup that works best. We've read lots of reviews and the majority of users love them but many women say they had to try a few different brands before they found the perfect fit for them.
Lunette X Monki X The Cup - Buy One, Give One Charity Menstrual Cup Pink
Why We Love It: The Lunette Menstrual Cup needs emptying only 2 to 4 times a day, is great for when playing any sport and can also be used overnight (safe to wear for up to 12 hours). With a totally smooth lining it is very easy to clean and has measuring lines for monitoring flow. When used and maintained with care the cup will last from 5 to 10 years, making it very economical and environmentally friendly, as far fewer disposable sanitary items will be sent to landfill or end up polluting our oceans.
Finnish brand Lunette has teamed up with Monki and The Cup Foundation, whose mission is to empower underprivileged girls worldwide by providing them with sustainable menstrual cups and comprehensive education on sexuality and reproductive rights.. To celebrate their collaboration, Lunette will be donating 5000 menstrual cups to The Cup Foundation as well as one cup for every cup sold via the Australian Lunette site. That's reason enough for us to want to give this cup a go! You can read more about the collaboration here.
Purchase From: Lunette (this is the North American site, however there are 11 regions around the world listed on the site to shop from - Australian readers you can purchase direct from the Australian Lunette site)
PELVI Menstrual Cup - Small
Why We Love It: The PELVI Menstrual Cup (small size) is one of the smaller menstrual cups on the market. Its soft and easy-to-fold design makes it ideal for teenagers, first-time adult users and women with a low cervix. It is a safe, ecological and inexpensive alternative to other sanitary items, given that it will last from 6 to 10 years.
Purchase From: Nourished Life
JuJu Menstrual Cup - Model 1
Why We Love It: JuJu is available in four models and can be used by women of all ages. This model is recommended for women under 30 who have not given birth. The new model now features a raised butterfly pattern with a matte finish at the base of the cup for improved grip. Nodules have been added to the stem to provide extra strength and to indicate trim points for those preferring a shorter stem.
Purchase From: Nourished Life
Washable pads: This is a fantastic option for your environmentally conscious tween! Just like pads and panty liners, but made of materials like cotton or bamboo fibres. They are washable, re-usable and eco friendly.
hannahpad My First Period Kit
Why We Love It: hannahpad is a non-toxic menstrual cloth pad designed and made in Korea from certified organic cotton. The My First Period Kit is an introductory kit that contains 3x hannahpads in sizes Pantyliner, Small & Medium, a linen pouch, drying strap, and laundry powder sample to get your daughter started and decide if she is comfortable using them.
Lunette Cloth Pads Twin Pack
Why We Love It: Lunette cloth pads are very trim, and approximately 8.5 inches long, making them suitable to use as a liner to a medium flow pad. They are made with a bamboo velour absorbent top layer, with inner layers of bamboo terry. The water proof backing is made from PUL (polyurethane laminate). The Cloth Pad Twin Pack contains two pads. If you wish to only use cloth pads during your cycle Lunette recommends that you will need about 8-14 to get through a menstrual week (depending on the flow and washing frequency).
Purchase From: Lunette
Period underwear: Underwear with discreet, super absorbent lining (like a washable pad, but connected to the underwear). I'm not able to try these myself as I've had a hysterectomy but I've got a number of friends who swear by them and while they may not be everyone's cup of tea, it only takes a quick online search to read thousands of positive reviews from women who have converted to period underwear. From our research we believe they may not be suitable for a super heavy period but are a perfect option for tweens and teens (and women in general) with a light or moderate to heavy period. It's a good idea to trial them at home on a weekend first to make sure you have the right level of protection to avoid any accidents at school!
RED by Modibodi
Why We Love It: Modibodi uses high quality, tech-savvy fabrics (like Bamboo, Merino Perform Wool and Microfibre) and the latest in breathable, antimicrobial fibres to produce a super slim (only 3mm) stain resistant lining for modern periods and leaks, and a moisture-wicking, odour-fighting lining for getting sweaty. RED is the little sister brand to Modibodi, which aims to provide for young women starting their periods and tackling womanhood one month at a time. The difference with RED is that there are more patterns, prints and sizing is designed for younger women and girls. MODIBODI IS OFFERING SOMEWHERE BETWEEN READERS 15% OFF THEIR FIRST ORDER WITH CODE SOMEWHERE - VALID DURING THE MONTH OF APRIL ONLY - code cannot be used with any other offer and excludes packs and sale items.
Purchase From: Modibodi
Why We Love It: The team that brought us THINX have created THINX (BTWN) for tweens and teens body shapes and sizes. Their undies are made with organic cotton and their signature leak-fighting, period-proof technology. Depending on the flow (light, medium, heavy), they can be worn alone or with other period products for extra protection. THINK (BTWN) ARE OFFERING SOMEWHERE BETWEEN READERS 10% OFF THEIR ENTIRE ORDER WITH CODE BTWN10 - VALID DURING THE MONTH OF APRIL ONLY - minimum purchase USD$15.00, one use per customer, code valid at thinxbtwn.com and shethinx.com and expires Apr 30, 2019 at 11:59pm EST
Price: USD$19.00-$35.00 (discounted price the more you purchase)
Why We Love It: Knixteen's are designed to provide backup support when a tampon, pad or menstrual cup just isn’t enough. Their undies hold 2-3 teaspoons of moisture (aka 2 tampons worth of blood), so they may be worn alone on lighter days of a period depending on how heavy your daughter's cycle is. Knixteen offer three styles - Bikini, Boyshort and our fav, the 'Sleepover Short'! The Sleepover Short have an added extra length to the front and back of their signature leak-proof liners to make it as protective as a nighttime pad.
Period swimwear: This really is a game changer for anyone who has a daughter who swims and isn't ready / comfortable using tampons. Keeping in mind, this kind of swimwear has a light-moderate absorbency and isn't suitable for a heavy period day (unless used as a backup with a cup or tampon) but is great for a light period so your daughter can still go for a dip!
Modibodi One Piece Swimsuit
Why We Love It: The Modibodi swimwear is for use while in and out of the water to protect from light bladder leaks, discharge, light periods and spotting and can hold up to 10ml / 2 teaspoons / 1-1½ tampons blood. It's sustainable and super safe! MODIBODI IS OFFERING SOMEWHERE BETWEEN READERS 15% OFF THEIR FIRST ORDER WITH CODE SOMEWHERE - VALID DURING THE MONTH OF APRIL ONLY - code cannot be used with any other offer and excludes packs and sale items.
Period kits: Set your girl up to be prepared – once you’ve discussed what she’d like to use, create a little kit for her to pop in her bag or pencil case and make sure she has everything she needs at home. Trial samples and giving her a variety of choices is a good way for her to find out what works for her body. Don't forget to give her a little diary/calendar or download a period tracking app like Clue or Period Diary if she has a phone so she can track her cycle and know when to expect it again. Keeping in mind it could take up to 12 months to become regular (always consult with a doctor if you have any concerns). You can also give her some pain relief medicine to take with her to school. Chewable tablets like Nurofen for Children are a great option, you can cut up the packet and only give her enough for each day. She also needs a back-up plan in case she has a leak at school so make sure you pop a spare pair of undies in her bag.
Moxie 'Welcome to Periods' box
Why We Love It: Available as a subscription or you can buy as a one-off. Everything your daughter will need, just add a cute little bag to store it all in. The box includes day pads, overnight pads, liners, a hot water bottle, chocolate, your choice of knickers or socks, feminine wipes and a go-to-guide. We reviewed this carefully curated box a short while ago (we loved them and so did our daughters!) you can read more about them here.
Purchase From: Moxie
LOLA First Period Kit
Why We Love It: LOLA's First Period Kit is a keepsake box filled with first period products made with 100% organic cotton including day pads, night pads, liners, light tampons, instructional card, canvas pouch, stickers for period tracking and a $5 LOLA credit towards a new subscription.
Purchase From: LOLA
My First Period Kit
Why We Love It: The chic My First Period Kit provides tweens and teens with everything they need when they start their period. Each kit includes a gorgeous zipper pouch as well as pads, a pair of 100% organic cotton 'rescue' undies, cramp tablets, deodorant wipe, hot pink hairband, moist towelette, makeup wipe, organic stain remover wipe, organic lip balm and a disposable bag.
Purchase From: My First Period Kit
However you approach preparing your daughter for her first period, make sure you cover the basic facts, be honest and walk through the transition with her as much as you can – she’ll thank you for it later.
One of our contributors, Nicole Langford, wrote about her daughter's first period, you can have a read of it here.
We hope this post has been helpful. Has your daughter had her first period yet? What products or resources did you find worked best? Share with us your thoughts on our Facebook page, Instagram, or comment below.
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