What details about puberty are you leaving out?
Lately, I have been having many discussions about puberty with my daughter, my mom friends and our new pediatrician. And it’s interesting to hear the questions that kids have as their bodies change and how moms are supplying (or not supplying) the information.
Our pediatrician gave us a great list last year about the order that the girl’s body changes. (I thought I shared the list last year but I didn’t find it in our archive.) Here’s what she wrote down for me as the general order of things changing:
Period “the end!”
She wrote next to it that it all happens in about 1.5 to 2 years. She said generally it was about 2 years from breast buds to periods. I thought this list was really helpful.
I wanted to hit a couple of areas that I wonder if moms are addressing with their daughters.
- Things they may feel in their breast as they form: I recall there being like a hard disk in my breast as it was growing and our pediatrician explained that it is the fibrous material of the breast forming that will later hold the milk ducts. It’s like the inner bra she said, and it was totally normal to feel that in your breast as it grew. She indicated that the breast and underarm areas could be sensitive or sore as the breasts grow. (It reminds me of being pregnant.) I think it would be a relief to a lot of little girls if their moms told them this.
- Another thing I think moms don’t mention (I know my mom didn’t!) and they should is to tell their daughters that it is totally normal to have fluid and mucous months prior to getting their periods. I think the fluid worries and scare a lot of little girls. Our doctor said some of her little girl patients were hiding their underwear because they thought they had done something wrong but it’s nothing they can control. I also think it’s a great opportunity for moms to discuss the difference between bad fluid that can indicate an infection and regular fluid that all ladies have!
- Another thing that I constantly hear from moms that their moms didn’t tell them is: The place the pee comes from is different than the place the period comes out. I can’t tell you how many ladies I have met who didn’t know this until they got married. That is a travesty. Ladies, please tell your daughters that there are three separate places down there. The period, the tampon and the baby all use the same area. The pee comes from a different place!
Are you talking about these items with your daughter? Why or why not? What other facts have you neglected to tell them? What other facts are important to tell them that moms may assume they know or be embarrassed to talk about? What questions did they ask that surprised you that we should make sure we address?