Pads, tampons, menstrual cups, period pants – there’s a whole world of sanitary products out there to explore. So when your daughter starts her period for the first time, it can be pretty overwhelming to understand what’s right for her and why.
Naturally, we’re sure you want her to feel as prepared as possible. Opening up the conversation nice and early is a great place to start, but if you want her to get an A* in womb studies (if only that was a subject, we’d rule) then we suggest a show and tell.
Whether you grab your laptop and a couple of hot chocolates to run through this list together or get creative and cover your kitchen table with san-pro, make sure you teach her about everything on offer so she can make an informed choice.
Our bettypads could be the perfect start
Dealing with your first period is pretty daunting, so it might be best to introduce your daughter to pads first. They’re super simple to use – just rip off the plastic and stick in your knickers – plus they don’t involve inserting anything up the vagina.
Pads come in different sizes and absorbencies from light to long to maxi depending on your flow. The good news? Our awesome bettypads are specially designed to fit growing teenage bodies so will *actually* fit!
It’s likely that your daughter will be quite light when she first starts, so pantyliners could also be another option – they tend to be thinner and smaller so she can use them in the same way as a pad during the beginning and end of the period. However, if she finds herself experiencing heavy periods, thicker pads with wings could be the way to go.
Keep your eyes peeled for info on our brand new bettypads coming soon, FYI. They’re designed especially for teens so actually fit their knickers! (You’re welcome.)
She might want to try tampons
If your daughter wants to skip pads and try tampons straight away, that’s fine too. They’re a great option if she’s active (she won’t have to miss swimming or gym because of a chunky pad). Like pads, there are also loads of different absorbancies and sizes but it’s more important with tampons to use the right one – it’s more comfortable too.
Explain to your daughter that her body will be able to tell her what strength she should be using. If she finds it difficult to remove it and there’s loads of white still showing, then she needs a lower absorbency. On the other hand, if she sees menstrual fluid on the string after only a couple hours then she needs a heftier one.
Why not get her to try applicator tampons first? They’re ideal for beginners as the applicator acts as a guide to help her insert it. Just make sure she’s relaxed, has washed her hands and is pointing the tampon towards her lower back when she pops it in.
Menstrual cups could be the one
You might think that menstrual cups are for more experienced period peeps, but their popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, so it could be a legitimate option for your daughter. They’re reusable, cheap and enviro-friendly so are perfect for budding eco warriors.
The downside? They can be a bit tricky to use at first but once you’ve mastered inserting a menstrual cup, you’re golden. It just sits inside you and collects fluid – a whole load more than tampons and pads as it lasts for up to 12 hours, meaning your daughter doesn’t have to worry about dealing with her period at school!
Period pants are a secret weapon
Imagine just throwing on a pair of pants and not having to worry about your period at all. Dreamy, right? Well you’re in luck because there are a couple of amazing brands out there producing protective knickers that actually absorb your period. And not just a few specks here and there either, they hold up to two tampons worth of fluid. Just pop them in the washing machine between uses and away you go.
What about sustainable superstars?
If the reusable aspect appeals to your daughter but she isn’t keen on cups or pants, there are reusable pads and tampons which can be bought too. They’re pretty much identical to standard ‘pons and pads but instead of binning them, they can be washed and used again and again.
betty is a teen brand which aims to break the taboo of talking about periods and challenge societal barriers about these types of teen issues. betty is changing the way we perceive and talk about periods, and instilling body confidence in young women. For more information, check out the rest of the site or follow @bettycollective on all social channels.
Image: Kate Borrill