When I was growing up, there was very little info about periods and even less about how to determine if yours was nearing. I was brought up by my dad, who, let's face it, definitely wasn't going to have the conversation with me in the 80s. In fact, when I was 17, he asked his girlfriend of the time to check with me if I had started menstruating - we were both mortified! Nowadays, dads are a lot more liberal and a lot more involved in their childrens' lives.
So, for all those moms and dads out there, who really don't know how to spot the signs, this blog is for you...
Breasts develop - Starting as buds, they become hard under the nipple area and are often tender. Believe it or not, they can start to bud two to three years before her first period.
More hair - The hair on her arms & legs will become thicker & darker and she'll soon start to get hair on her pubic area & underarms. This hair starts softer & lighter and gradually becomes thicker & darker.
Growth spurt - You'll notice an increase in her height, hands & feet. Some girls grow up to 10cm in the year just before their first period. Surprisingly, many girls are at, or near, their adult height by the time their first period starts.
Weight gain - This is both normal & necessary and happens so that girls can build up enough oestrogen. This can happen just before puberty but also throughout puberty. Around 16, she can go through another necessary weight gain.
Sweatier & oilier - Her skin & hair becomes oilier leading to breakouts and sweatiness. When she starts using deodorant, it's interesting to note that ones with Aluminium or parabens can interfere with oestrogen levels so perhaps try to find ones without.
Cervical discharge - You might notice white or yellow discharge in her panties. This can begin six months to two years before her menses begins. The few weeks before her first period, this discharge can become thicker & whiter - more like egg whites.
Moods - She'll probably be noticeably happier or angrier at times. This can be scary for your tween / teen. She might also start having romantic feelings towards someone - this is all normal. Remind her that it's all part of her changing hormones.
It's certainly an interesting time for children and parents alike but remember to support her in any way you can and to sometimes let the power struggles take a back seat.
At Blushproof, we like to support your child through this phase with our First period kit. Most importantly, this includes a pair of period absorbing panties, a swim period bottom and a leakproof pouch for your child to keep in her school or sports bag so that she's not caught off guard. We also include a lovely heat pack for tummy cramps and headaches that she can use with the essential oil roller. Lastly, there's an amazing aromadough that she can play with when feeling stressed, depressed or angry.
The more you talk about this with your daughter, the more chance there is that it won't feel like such a scary experience but rather a right of passage into womanhood.
Good luck for the journey - what an exciting time!