It's always so sweet to see parents looking for advice on how to handle a big milestone moment in their child's life. Just like this single father seeking to understand how to take care of his daughter, who's just started menstruating!
A father posted on Reddit, asking for tips on how to support his daughter better through such a significant time and phase of her life. And as he asked how he can make her feel more comfortable through this, people came forward to give the best, most wholesome advice! It's extremely heartwarming to read.
And here are all the tips people had to give.
1. Buy her some period panties as well as pads. They'll minimize leakage which will save her some trauma. Also, find a good body book (Owning Your Period is a great option for 12 year olds, I just bought it recently as a gift). Read it first then give it to her. Find out the snacks she likes and keep them around. Always have the next period's worth of supplies on hand. They're not regular at first and she'll go through a lot figuring out her cycle. Help her choose a tracking app like Clue to keep tabs on her cycle and symptoms.
2. If she's physically going to school, you can get her a small bag that holds her pads and liners to put in her backpack. Also, I'd recommend a heating pad for when she comes home — they can be a miracle for cramps.
3. Also buy different sizes of pads. When I was her age my flow was so heavy sometimes I had to wear overnight pads during the day but that’s uncomfortable and overkill for lighter days. It’s nice to have a good mix of sizes. Pads with wings are best because they’re more secure. Hydrogen and cold water will get out blood stains. Hot water cooks the proteins and sets the stain so don’t wash with hot water until the stain is lifted. If she doesn’t have black underwear, make sure you get her those because it’s just nice to not have to worry about staining something. Make sure she knows that tampons will probably be uncomfortable the first time she uses them and she can’t just put one in to try it and take it out because taking it out dry hurts like hell. If she has to see an ob/gyn for her symptoms at any point please make sure she knows that she is in charge of her own body even though they’re a doctor. The process is going to be uncomfortable no matter who the gynecologist is but she should feel respected and listened to.
4. You should provide her with: unscented pads with wings, old towels to sleep on at night, put a pair of backup pants or shorts in her book bag, make sure she has a little baggie of supplies in her book bag. If you have a female friend or relative that can talk with her or be a good resource, that would be a good idea. But she needs to know that you’re her parent and you will provide the physical resources and emotional labor. If she knows she can come to you about something like that, she will most likely feel OK coming to you about MOST things. Also, you can tell her that sometimes putting in a tampon hurts and if it’s dry it WILL hurt. Just so she doesn’t worry. Tell her that most people have heavy periods on day 1-3, and they get lighter as the days go on. She should never sleep in an old tampon. As she gets older she can definitely use something like a cup; some people like them, some don’t. Also, pain that keeps her home from activities is not normal, and you need to find a gyno. that listens to her story and doesn’t discount her.
5. If anything she does regarding her period causes problems, like not disposing of her pads properly or getting blood on something, deal with it as directly and neutrally as possible. Try to use the proper words for things instead of euphemisms, and don’t get mad or visibly disgusted about it. She’s still a kid and is still gonna be learning how to clean up after herself in general; don’t treat periods like this gross unspeakable thing, just let her know about it in a calm manner and make sure she knows how to clean up after herself if needed.
6. “The care and keeping of you” is a great book that helped guide me through puberty without having to have mortifying conversations with my parents. It has a very clear guide to using tampons that i found incredibly useful as a first-timer.
7. I would definitely agree with the other posters, pads with wings is a must. A nice body spray because we can get a bit worried about if we smell, and I know when I was in junior school, your daughters age, smell was a thing, esp if someone was bleeding heavily. A spare set of bottoms is a must, lord knows how many times I messed myself at school. Snacks, some chocolate, yogurt, salty snacks and carbs. Ensure that there are painkillers around, I have run out of meds a few times and it was honestly hell on earth. A heating pad or hot water bottle, those are very comforting too, and if she likes tea, that can be very soothing to sip on. When she gets her period, sleep is usually best, so if she is home she can nap or watch a nice movie, lord knows we can be cranky around that time. I usually just wanted to lie in bed either watch a movie or just lie down and feel sorry for myself. Lol. You sound like a dope dad, keep it up.
8. Get a cute zipper pencil case and put a few things in it:
1. Several pads (with wings) 2. A clean pair of underwear3. A ziploc bag so that if she bleeds on her underwear she can put them in it 4. Painkillers, if she’s allowed to have them at school
This goes in her school bag so that if she happens to be at school when she gets her period, she’s prepared. If the supplies are in a cute pencil case she won’t be embarrassed to be seen carrying it. Get a lidded trash can for the bathroom she uses too.
9. Pads need changing frequently - every 4 hours minimum. It's important to have a bin in the bathroom and preferably wet wipes.
10. There's a lot of great practical advice here. One thing I'd like to add is just to make sure she knows it's okay to have accidents, especially when trying different products and learning about her specific period tendencies like how much she flows at different points of the week. Also, to not let anyone make her feel bad about her period cause obviously it's a natural thing and not something to feel ashamed of.
How sweet and wholesome are these responses?