Puberty: First Periods – Age, Symptoms, Discussion With Child and Diet 

Puberty

This is the natural process of body development akin to any other development phase of  a girl child’s body. Puberty happens when the Hypothalamus – a part of the brain starts to produce a hormone which prepares the girl’s body ready for reproduction.

Signs of Puberty

  • The breasts start to grow and expand.
  • Pubic hair grows faster and thicker.
  • Hairs growing in under arms and legs.
  • Growing taller than usual.
  • Hip and thigh parts inching wider.
  • Changes in voice tone.
  • Unusual shine on nose.
  • Acne on face.

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How to introduce this topic to your child?

The parents of girl children can start to make their child understand and start to talk about her first periods around the age of 9 0r 10. Talk to her as a friend and make her comfortable and encourage her to reach you for clearing any sort of doubts about her body, and its changes without any hesitation.

Be open to answer to any question regarding the new change in her life and be honest and considerate. Discuss about the common hormonal changes which would happen in the body and the development.

Talk about the menstruation process and what to do if that happens to her for the first time. Make sure you explain it to her as a next normal development phase in her growing years. She could be given a heads up on the discomfort and precautions just to make her understand about it and not make her fear and tensed about the whole thing, overt explanations and alarming can bewilder her. Doing so, the whole objective of preparing the child to face the change will be foiled there.

Parents can share and watch educational videos of physical and hormonal changes with the child.

What will be the common reactions when the child gets her first periods?

  • Most of the girls feel insecure or feel shameful about start getting their first periods.
  • They stop mingling with other kids if they attain puberty earlier than their friends, because of the changes in her body.
  • They will be more curious to know the reasons, but wouldn’t come up to ask their mother about this.

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When can you talk  with your Girl Child?

Don’t wait or delay for your daughter to ask about this. Start talking about this around 9-11 years, depending on the changes you notice in her. It is always better to start this topic as a knowledge sharing to know about their body and its changes.

And it is also important to teach them how to grow up healthy by following healthy food habits and to avoid overgrowth following a wrong diet and idle lifestyle.

While introducing the knowledge about puberty as a mother, you could recollect memories from your past and share with her. A connect to the topic becomes possible as knowing it had also happened with her mother might relax her and she would understand that this is not an isolated phenomenon for her but a part of the growth cycle in every woman. Such a connect could make the child to be at ease to listen and ask more doubts if any, Viable guidance from the mother can help the child to face it better.

How to educate about first periods to your Girl child?

  • We can give a complete information about when it may happen and also a guidance on how to act immediately whenever it ought to happen.
  • We can provide a safety kit (panties, napkins, pads, covers & extra dress) always with her bag and explain how to use that with practical explanations clearly.
  • We can give a heads up to her class teacher about this for an immediate help and support.
  • We should teach her how to help other girls if she knows of anyone who attains puberty but helpless.
  • To whom to contact immediately if this happens outside of the house or the school.

Diet to be followed for the Girl Child from 9 years:

 Should increase the foods which are rich in calcium, Iron and proteins.

Iron rich foods:

  • Dried Iron rich foods such as dates, prunes, raisins and apricots. 
  • Iron rich Fruits such as Banana, Apple, Pomegranate, etc.
  • This type of vegetables and fruits such as all green leafy vegetables, pomegranate, etc.
  • It cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, kidney beans, chickpeas, legumes, etc.

Calcium Rich Food Items:

  • Calcium rich fruits: Guava, papaya, Oranges, passion fruits
  • It rich vegetables: Carrots, Radish, Kale, soya beans, broccoli, collard greens,

Protein Rich foods:

Potatoes, milk, yogurt, cheese, egg, lean meats, poultry, fish and seafood.

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Diet during Menstrual Periods:

To reduce the stomach pain

  • Take cumin seeds boiled water with or without jaggery.
  • To take ajwain/carom seeds boiled water with or without jaggery.

To make bones stronger:

  • Take Black gram (urad dal) kali (a sweet dish) adding raw sesame oil and jaggery.
  • Get a spoon of raw soaked fenugreek seeds.
  • Eat an egg daily.

To reduce Pimples and acnes:

  • Apply besan flour with wild turmeric powder on the face as a mask, leave  for 5 minutes and wash. Repeat this daily for a smooth, healthy skin.
  • Avoid applying face creams in different brands frequently.
  • Drink plenty of water.

Common Tips During Periods:

  • As periods are prone to infections, it is important to teach the child to follow proper hygiene. This also prevents her from other severe infections in the future.
  • Washing the vaginal area with hot/warm water a few times in a day during the menstrual cycle will help prevent urinary tract infections.
  • Should learn to keep herself diverted from the periods stress and stay active involving in activities such as art, craft, gardening etc.
  • Sleep on time and properly to be more active and fresh physically and mentally.
  • Can try yoga or meditation or exercise which helps to improve blood circulation, reduce menstruation stomach cramps and control excess bleeding.

Finally, don’t forget that the child is still in her childhood and should be treated as one, so we should not disturb with giving unnecessary information or more informative or scare them by alarming her or expect to behave a woman. The whole aim is to make her aware of what is puberty, what happens, what should she do and how to handle the situation and let us, as a parent, stick to that and definitely, not overdo about it.

Happy Parenting!!

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