Wasn’t it just yesterday that your child was running around in diapers, learning how to talk, and eating pureed fruits and veggies from a tiny spoon you pretend is an airplane? But time moves quickly and all of a sudden your tiny baby is now almost a grown-up, dealing with the ups and downs of puberty. If you’ve noticed your pre-teen having mood swings, an increased desire for privacy, as well as hair growth, then you can be sure that their first period will be soon to follow.
Puberty can be a strange and confusing– but also exciting– time. (If you need a refresher, download Kt’s Free Period Guide for our medically accurate explanations.) Your child is beginning their journey to adulthood and in the meantime, their body is undergoing some serious changes. As a parent who has already experienced this, it’s your job to guide them through this. Read on to see what you can look out for to find out if your child is expecting their first period through these telltale signs and symptoms.
1. Developing Breast Buds
One of the sure signs of a child going through puberty is the growth and development of breast tissue aka breast buds. Budding simply means that the nipple area is elevated– they are not full breasts, although they are definitely a sign that breasts are coming. However, they can appear well in advance of the first period. According to doctors, breast buds develop up to two years before a period will occur. This is a great period of time to talk to them about their changing body and what else they can expect from the process, from hair growth to blossoming romantic feelings.
2. Growing Pubic And Armpit Hair
Soon after your child develops breast buds, they will start to grow pubic hair as well. If you cultivate an open and honest relationship with your child, they might feel comfortable talking to you about these changes happening in their body. The appearance of pubic hair is usually a telltale sign that puberty is going on. Typically, the growth of armpit and pubic hair will happen four to six months before the onset of their first period. Hair growth during puberty doesn’t just happen in the nether regions either– your child will begin to grow armpit hair too. It might be more comfortable to discuss the subject of hair removal when it comes to armpits rather than pubic hair, but the most important takeaway for your child should be that what they do with their body hair is entirely their choice.
If your child starts experiencing vaginal discharge, usually white or yellowish in colour, you can be confident that their first period will arrive soon. Normal discharge can look thin, sticky, and milky white or even thick and gooey. Some people experience discharge for weeks, months, or even years before they get their first period. Use this time to talk to your child about what discharge is, what to expect, and teach them the difference between what is common and uncommon so that they can tell the difference between normal discharge, and when they should consider seeing a doctor.
Acne, especially for menstruating people, is a very common thing to experience during puberty. For many people, hormonal acne can continue way into their late 20s and beyond. You can tell hormonal acne from the more common teenage kind by seeing where your child is getting it– usually, zits around the chin or jawline area suggest that their period will be coming soon.
5. Bloating & cramps
Lots of folks experience bloating and cramps around the onset of their period. Your child may be one of them. If they’re already going through puberty and begin to complain about bloating, abdominal, or lower back pain, it could mean that their first period will be coming very soon.
PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is a term for a series of symptoms that happen before and sometimes during a person’s period. These symptoms can be physical and emotional, and can include things like cramps, back pain, headaches, moodiness, sadness, general anxiety, and more. Typically, these will go away once the period actually starts.
If you’re wondering how to prepare for your child’s first period, read this helpful blog post we’ve put together and download our free period guide to share with them when they’re ready. For something a bit shorter, this blog post on getting their first period can help them learn what to expect for themselves. Our tip? Wearing or having a pair of our Leakproof Period Panties on hand is always a good idea for your teen if their period may be on its way!