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Preparing for Her First Period

It's the mom-to-daughter heart-to-heart that'll scramble your emotions: When your little girl tells you she's got her period, you'll be proud that she's growing up but nervous about all the things that come with it—her maturing body, raging hormones, the chance of pregnancy.

She's likely to be just as anxious, so it's important that your tone is reassuring and supportive. To help her handle her big day:

Tell her what's coming

These days, a girl can get her period anytime between age 8 and 13, so you'll want to broach the topic before your daughter actually starts to menstruate. That way, she won't be alarmed by the blood or any discomfort she may feel.

Describe what's going to happen, and give her an age-appropriate book, such as The Period Book: Everything You Don't Want to Ask (But Need to Know), by Karen and Jennifer Gravelle, or Valorie Schaefer's The Care and Keeping of You. That way, she can refer to the book if she has any questions she's embarrassed to ask.

Keep supplies on hand

Stock up on sanitary pads before her first period. Explain how a pad is worn and when to change it. If she's curious, suggest that she try wearing one to see how it feels. Tampons might be too intimidating for her first time, but have some junior versions available anyway.

Take her lead

If she's excited about her period, celebrate and take her out to dinner, just the two of you. If she wants to keep the news quiet, respect that, and let her tell people only if she wants to (and ask her how she'd like to handle telling Dad, if at all). Either way, be positive; if you seem negative or embarrassed, she might think her period is something to be ashamed of.