First of all: not all girls menstruate and not all menstruating teenagers are girls. We often refer to "girls" or "daughters" in this article, but of course include all menstruating people.
The first period can be confusing and scary for many young people. In June 2021 we have done an ooia community survey. When asked what emotions were associated with the first period, the most common responses were insecurity, shame and fear. This is often a challenging moment for parents too, and it's perfectly normal if you, as a mother or father, feel a little nervous about educating young girls about their first period and giving them the support and reassurance they need.
This is a natural and important part of growing up and should not be treated with shyness or shame. In this article we would like to give you a few tips on how to best prepare your daughter for her own period and to support her when the time comes.
First and foremost, we encourage all parents to be open about menstruation. Having an honest conversation will help many girls prepare for their own period because they know what to expect and can adjust to the change. How exactly this information looks like is up to you and always depends on individual needs: Some teenagers prefer to confide in their parents, siblings, friends or doctors. Others find it easier to read about menstruation first before engaging in a conversation. There are books that convey knowledge about menstruation in a relaxed and playful way and address insecurities and worries. The (first) period is also being discussed more frequently in social media, and so the internet is increasingly contributing to education.
However we would still like to recommend a personal conversation with a trusted person, in which questions are answered openly and worries are addressed without shame. Overall, it's important to show your daughter that you're there for her and that it's always okay to talk about her period.
Take away fears: Many girls are afraid of the unknown and it is important to take away this uncertainty, explain facts and answer any open questions.
Be a confidant: Menstruation should not be a taboo subject. Make it clear to your daughter that she can always reach out to you if she has any questions or concerns. Sharing your own experiences can also help to prevent shyness about the topic and makes it easier for her to talk openly about her concerns.
In our ooia community survey we asked what menstruating women would have liked to know more about when they first got their period. The majority of them wished for more education on the following topics:
Pain, symptoms & PMS:What kind of pain is normal? What symptoms and physical or mental side effects do you experience just before or during your period? How do I deal with it and how can I do something good for myself during this time?
Cycle:What does the female cycle look like? When is there a chance of getting pregnant? Why do I have more energy in some phases and less in others?
Period products and their use:What choices are there? How do I use period products? How often do they have to be changed? And how safe do they protect against leakage?
The best thing to do is to discuss which period products are available and which ones might be best for your daughter. You can show your daughter what different period products look like and how they are used, where to find them, and what pros and cons there are for each product.
If she's still unsure which product is best for her, she could test different products for herself and find out what she feels most comfortable with.
Period underwear is particularly popular among young menstruators because it is very comfortable and doesn't slip. In addition, there is no need for additional products that have to be changed or disposed of during the day. Tampons are also a popular period product, but they require a certain amount of experience and finesse. Another option is pads, which are a bit easier to use, especially in the beginning, and give a good sense of security.
However, both disposable period products have the disadvantage that they have to be changed and disposed of several times a day. Young girls in particular can feel uncomfortable at first when the tampon or pad has to be changed on the school toilet.
Period underwear, on the other hand, is a sustainable alternative: After usage, it is simply washed and reused, which replaces countless disposable period products and thus saves a lot of waste!Developed particularly for teenagers: ooia teens period panties
By the way: period panties aren't just a great option for girls who have just started their period. We have products for all menstruating people who are looking for an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to conventional period products - click here for our product overview: Period underwear for adults