10 May What if she gets her period at camp?
If your daughter is headed off to sleep-away camp this summer or a trip abroad, there are so many issues to think about. One major dilemma is how and if to prepare her for her first period . After all, how do you know when that day will come? Here are some simple guidelines.
- Menstruation begins about 2 years after breasts begin to develop.
- Six months before her first period she will begin to get a clear discharge on her underwear.
How do you prepare her?
Once she begins to develop breasts, its time to teach her about the changes she will experience. If you have not told her about sex, now is the time. It is better she hear it from you than from her friends. Also, ask her to tell you when she starts to see the clear discharge so you will have some idea when her first period will begin.
What do I tell her to do if she gets her period at camp?
Here are the basic things she needs to know:
Menstrual cramps can be painful and debilitating. Describe the feeling to her and give her these tips:
- When the cramps begin, she should take a hot shower and let the water run on her stomach. The heat will relax the contracting muscles.
- Hold a warm wet washcloth on the stomach.
- Lay on the floor hugging the knees to the chest
- Ask for some Advil from the camp nurse.
Note: It is not prudent to send a young girl to camp with her own bottle of pain reliever. Instruct her to see the nurse who can dispense the appropriate dosage.
Tampon or Pads?
It is so important to teach your daughter to use a tampon. Pads are fine for the night but they leak and prevent her from swimming. All girls can use a tampon as soon as they get their first period.
Before she goes to camp, teach her how to do the following:
Inserting a tampon
- Wash hands.
- Start with a regular or junior tampon.
- Use an applicator-free OB tampon. It is compact and slides in easily.
- Lubricate the tip of the tampon with a little Vaseline.
- Open the bottom part of the tampon where the string is and have her put her finger there.
- With the tampon on her finger, have her feel around for the opening. If she can’t find it, have her use a mirror.
- When she finds the opening, push the tampon up as far as it will go with the string hanging outside the vagina. When she no longer feels the tampon, it is in the right place.
- To remove, simply pull on the string and the whole tampon will come out.
Note: To avoid bacterial infections such as Toxic Shock Syndrome, she should always use the lowest absorbency necessary and change the tampon every 4-6 hours or more frequently if necessary. She should not leave a tampon in more than 8 hours.
Pads are simple and good for night time if she sleeps more than 8 hours. However, pads can be messy and embarrassing if they leak. At night, Always with wings and black underwear are the best way to go or a super absorbancy tampon if she can change it once in the night. Send her to camp with a Tide stick or a little bottle of Shout. Tell her to pretreat underwear stains before washing them so the blood does not stain her underwear permanently.
Some girls are anxious while others are excited at the prospect of menstruation. It is a really big deal for them. Be sensitive, be open, and answer all her questions in a kind and gentle way. If she feels you are here for her now, she will be comfortable coming to you in the future.
I know this is a difficult time with hormones raging but hang in there. You can do this and you will be the best mom ever!
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