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10yr old & periods - advice please

(36 Posts)

My niece is staying with us this weekend. She apparently started her periods a month a go so has been sent armed with pant liners, though I doubt she'll fall into a regular cycle straight away anyhow.

The reason I'm posting is that she lives with my MIL & PIL who are in their 70s, she only learnt about periods three months ago because they (she comes with my nephew who is 12) came to stay when our dog was in season so we used it as an opportunity to discuss puberty and periods with both of them.

My MIL phoned me yesterday to tell me but hadn't told DH during their twice weekly phone calls and I think is keeping it 'secret' from the male members of the family.

I am intending to try and find some time this weekend to talk things through with her without the massive generation gap getting in the way as it is at home. I also want to talk about tampons with her as she is very sporty and apparently worrying about swimming and gymnastics (and school). Any advice on how I go about this? And what tampons are best for a 10 year old to deal with?

Any advice greatly received from anyone who has dealt with a relatively young starter please. Anything else that would be good to talk through with her? My DDs are only 5 & 7, I thought I had longer to prepare for this!

PearlyWhites Fri 23-Aug-13 21:17:48

I would think any tampons are ok for a child of ten tbh.

PearlyWhites Fri 23-Aug-13 21:18:01

Sorry wouldn't think

lotsofcheese Fri 23-Aug-13 21:24:33

I started my periods at 10 & was very self-conscious about it. I don't think I used Tampax until I was 12 or so.

I would have liked to have had some advice about issues related to puberty eg skin care (cleansers, blackheads etc), being a bit more sweaty, shaving eg armpits/pubic hair etc. Also pain control if periods were heavy/painful. How to manage around PE at school.

chickensaladagain Fri 23-Aug-13 21:31:39

You probably want to get her something better than pant liners, get her some proper towels so she feels more secure

Dd's friend is a competitive swimmer so has used tampax pearl since her second period with a pant liner until she got used to it

Is there an advised minimum age for use of tampons? She is a sensible child so I think would deal with them ok. Does it make a difference physically or is it just the problems around ensuring they are doing it all properly? I'm not sure she'd be comfortable with gymnastics, swimming or athletics otherwise.

lotsofcheese any tips around managing PE at school? I think this is what I need to know, I didn't start my periods until I was nearly 14 so have no idea.

exexpat Fri 23-Aug-13 21:37:12

You probably won't have time to get hold of these while she's staying, unless you have a very good bookshop nearby, but I think it would be a good idea for her to have a book or two for reference if she is living with grandparents who sound rather old-fashioned about periods and puberty.

I have a 10yo DD and she has What's happening to me? which is good on all aspects of puberty, sex etc but in a preteen-friendly way. I've also seen lots of recommendations for The care and keeping of you and The care and keeping of you 2. We don't have either, so I'm not sure which would be more appropriate for a 10yo whose periods have already started. Maybe order one or more to be delivered to her once she's back home?

Lillets do a teen range of slimmer pads and tampons which might be a good range to start with, but I know from my own experience and from another thread on here recently that young girls' periods aren't necessarily light, so she may need to move straight on to regular/super pads or tampons. There is no reason why a 10yo shouldn't use tampons if she wants to and is comfortable enough with her body to try. I used tampons from a few months after my periods started at age 11.

rootypig Fri 23-Aug-13 21:39:11

I think lilets are good for younger girls - really small and you can feel where they're going iyswim. But I also agree with Pearly, she's likely to be ever so delicate there. I would go with pads as a first option.

Also do emphasise how normal / natural it is. I understand keeping it from wider family, it's so private somehow and when I got mine at 13 I was mortified that my mum told my grandmother. Quite angry thinking about it now actually. But do stress that it's personal, rather than bad or gross or any of those messages that young girls are bombarded with angry

exexpat Fri 23-Aug-13 21:39:54

The lil-lets website becoming a teen might also be worth checking out to see if it's worth looking at together.

chicken I'm going to investigate what she's been provided with and see if they are appropriate. I can see a shopping trip coming on.

WeAreSix Fri 23-Aug-13 21:43:40

My 9yo had her first period about 8 weeks ago, nothing since.

She's sporty too. Gym wasn't a problem as she put shorts or leggings on with her leotard. She missed swimming but it didn't worry her.

DD is very petite, and I would think even the mini Tampax would be too big for her. She finds pads a bit fiddly so I doubt she would get on with tampons just yet.

She has wanted to talk about the emotional side of life; I've noticed she's much more sensitive and teary!

Lilets do a preteen range of pads in discreet and pretty packaging which has been useful. I've given DD a little wash bag with pads, spare knickers, little bags and fresh wipes for her school bag in case she comes on at school. She's found that reassuring to know she won't get caught out.

There's a good set of books by Babette Cole exploring changing bodies in a gentle but amusing way.

I found being honest with DD but keeping things simple seemed to work, and giving her time to ask lots of questions.

Good luck! And how lovely of you to look out for your niece smile

WeAreSix Fri 23-Aug-13 21:45:50

Sorry for x-post!

Yes, I'm going to ask about whether she's got any reading material. I found the 'What's happening to Me' book earlier when looking for some relevant books. May try the local bookshop or order it for her. I wonder if they do an electronic version, I can get it on her kindle smile

bigTillyMint Fri 23-Aug-13 21:54:50

I agree, it is lovely that you are doing this for your niece.

DD is 14 and started her periods 2 years ago. She will not remotely entertain the idea of tampons. Nor will my DGodD who is the same age (or any but 2 or 3 of her friends) She does gym without any difficulties using pads - they wear the little shorts on top of their leotards most of the time anyway.

WeAreSix she's very athletic and immensely tall for her age. Physically she looks about 12/13. I like the bag idea, I'll add that to the shopping list.

Thank you for the comment about being lovely smile. She's a bit more to us than your average niece, we are the fall back position should the ILs get to a point health wise where they can't look after them any more. This is very likely to happen in the next few years sad.

Notmadeofrib Fri 23-Aug-13 22:05:44

Pearlywhites, why wouldn't it be OK?

WeAreSix Fri 23-Aug-13 22:17:21

Maybe buy a pack of pads and tampons, let her get a feel for them and see what she would prefer.

My DD pulled a pad apart to see what it was made of, she loves science so I drew a diagram of uterus / Fallopian tubes / ovaries etc which she loved smile

Theimpossiblegirl Fri 23-Aug-13 22:37:09

I buy lots of the Lilets teens stuff for DD (age 11) as she seems to be quite regular already. The website is realy good too. She has tried tampons out as she loves swimming and after a few goes is happy to use them. She's quite petite but fine with them, less worried about it than I was tbh.

Some young girls can be very heavy and DD feels more secure with the night time towels when she is. She has a nice make-up type bag for her school bag with spare knickers and a few pads.

Rather than hiding it from other family members, I've had a quiet word so that they are more tolerant to potential mood swings, she can't really help it.

You may also want to get her deodorant and give her a hygiene chat. DD has now started to shave her armpits and legs, although hair removal cream may be easier. She is also wearing bras.

It might also be worth buying her a load of extra knickers so she can just dispose of them if need be.

PearlyWhites Fri 23-Aug-13 23:46:33

Not made of I just think at ten she might find tampons difficult to use and even the teen ones may be a little big for her. Also she might forget to change them regularly. But obviously every girl is different she may be ok but personaly I would use pads for another year or so.

monikar Sat 24-Aug-13 15:08:10

It has occurred to me that she has come to you with just liners as her first period may have been very light. This can happen, and then the next ones may be a lot heavier, or indeed they may not be. It might be worth mentioning this to her, and as others have suggested buying her something more suitable.

My DD tried tampons after a year or two, and got on well with the traditional tampax slender ones - I don't know exactly what they are called but they are slimmer than the yellow regular ones. I showed her (clothed!) what angle she should aim them in at and then left her to do it and it went surprisingly well.

I also think it is lovely that you have such a close relationship - she is lucky to have you.

dufflefluffle Sat 24-Aug-13 15:14:44

The American Girl books (available from Amazon) are very good for dealing with growing up (my 10 year old & her friends find them excellent) but so are the Usborne ones - though more technical and sometimes very much so. Arming her with books means she can read them and take in some information at her own pace as well as talk with you or your MIl about things.

We had a brief chat this morning, enough to ascertain that MIL has not really done much other than provide the pant liners. So we went out and I got two books from Waterstones, the 'What's happening to me' and another similar one. She went straight up to her room and didn't emerge for an hour so I'm expecting her to have read at least one of them all through. I'll be having another chat later and we're planning a shopping trip tomorrow. Thank you for all the suggestions. I think she's worrying most about school and people laughing at her sad

monikar Sat 24-Aug-13 17:51:36

Girl start earlier than they used to, so it is likely that she isn't the only one. It is a stressful time for them though. Is it the changing for PE that is worrying her? I suggested to my DD that she wore a dress/skirt on PE days, then put her PE shorts on underneath first and then took the dress/skirt off, then did it in reverse to change back. What can seem simple to us can be very complicated to them with everything else to worry about.

FortyFacedFuckers Sat 24-Aug-13 17:57:07

No advice really but I started my periods at 10 and used tampons from my very first period with no problems so it definitely is possible.

ClaimedByMe Sat 24-Aug-13 18:00:03

I would provide more than panty liners, I to this day do not understand all the soft cushy stuff schools tell you that your first few periods will be light and hardly anything and 'no more than a teaspoon of blood'.

Make sure she knows where all the bins are in school and remind her the importance of changing her pads regularly.

You sound fab by the way!

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