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Q&A about puberty and menstruation with Lil-Lets expert Vicki Buffery - ANSWERS BACK

(37 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 26-Nov-12 10:54:43

We're running a Q&A this week with Vicki Buffery about discussing puberty and menstruation with your pre-teen and teenagers. Vicki is the online Agony Aunt for Lil-ets and has been answering questions from pre-teen and teenage girls and threir parents teenage girls  on Lil-Lets 'Ask Vicki' section of their website. Vicki  is on hand this week to answer any questions you may have - from  how to explain changes in her body to choosing santitary protection. Send your question before midday on 3 December and we'll link to Vicki's answers on 12 December.

Lil-lets say:
"We are proud to be the only sanitary brand in the UK to offer products designed specifically for teens. With their younger and smaller bodies in mind, the range of towels, liners and tampons are shorter and narrower than the adult range to provide the perfect fit. To make things even easier,  we have brought all of this together in a 'Teen Starter Pack' which includes 2 lite tampons, 1 regular tampon, 2 regular applicator tampons, 1 teens liner pouch, 4 day teens towels, 2 night teens towels and 1 becoming a teens booklet for advise on puberty and using the products. Everything your daughter could need is in one, discreet little bag".

For more information please visit: http:/

JugglingWithPossibilities Mon 26-Nov-12 12:01:03

Hi Rachel

This thread is great timing for me as my DD is 13 and blossoming into a young woman by the day - have just got back from a weekend away and I swear she's gone up a bra size since I left !

Quite luckily for her though I feel, she's still period free. I'm nervous about this change both for her and for me. I want to say the right things !

She likes to keep things to herself and I feel it's going to be difficult to talk with her very much, though I guess I'll just have to keep it brief and choose the right moments. We've talked a little over the years and she's also talked at school and with friends so hopefully that's all enough as background information ?

The little bag of different bits sounds good. Any chance you could make the link clickable Rachel ? < lazy emoticon wink >

For a question .... I was so happy to discover tampons at 17 (Lil-lets of course !) after a couple of years struggling with rubbish, old-fashioned towels (1970's)

Wondering if DD will need to use towels at the beginning for a bit or how soon could she use infinitely preferable tampons ?

Which ones would be best ? ( especially tampons but towels as well )
I guess the ones in the starter pack have been selected with this in mind ?

JugglingWithPossibilities Mon 26-Nov-12 12:13:56

Sorry, just thinking I should have given you a wave too Vicki - Thanks for this thread, as I said it's good timing for me and my "DD" smile

LimburgseVlaai Mon 26-Nov-12 12:29:43

Will watch this with interest. No questions at the moment - I bought a couple of books which I have read with DD and they have done the job for now (of giving her the necessary information and reassurance).

minifingers Mon 26-Nov-12 12:57:30

My question is about when periods start. My daughter is 13 and 4 months, is wearing a size 34E bra, has had pubic hair since the age of 10 but hasn't yet started her periods. She weighs over nine stone. I would have expected her periods to have started by now. Is she likely to start her periods any time soon?

stopcallingmefrank Mon 26-Nov-12 14:42:05

My question is similar to minifingers.

My dd is 14, wears a bigger bra size than me grin, hair in all the rights places, but does not have periods yet. Apparently, all her friends have started theirs [pinch of salt emoticon]. I tried to reassure her that everyone is different, it's nothing to worry about, etc. etc.

What I want to ask is - when should I worry? If she gets to 15 or 16 and still no periods, then what?

JugglingWithPossibilities Mon 26-Nov-12 14:52:07

Hi Frank - A friend of mine didn't start hers till really late ... 21 I think it was.
She went on to have several children with no probs.
I'll be quite pleased if DD doesn't start hers till later.
I started mine at 15 I think it was, and that was quite soon enough !
They are a bit of a pain after all aren't they ?

< tries to muster up more positive attitude for DD's benefit smile >

stopcallingmefrank Mon 26-Nov-12 14:54:56

Yes they are a pain. I started mine really early and TBH was kind of relieved that dd wasn't the same, though I never said that to her.

ripsishere Tue 27-Nov-12 00:49:55

I want to ask two questions, one of them has already been asked. Age of menarche. I started at 11, my mum at 12, DD is around 28kgs, totally pipe free, a bit of underarm hair (new last week) and desperate to start. She does have very pointy breast buds.
Secondly, why are your products (which I do have for her) so expensive compared to similar others?

ripsishere Tue 27-Nov-12 00:50:38

DD is 11.6 and pube free. She is not a mini Stephen Fry.

JugglingWithPossibilities Tue 27-Nov-12 07:11:39

grin @ mini Stephen Fry !

PS I don't know how you know all these things about your DD's ( a bit of underarm hair etc ) - my DD is such a private person these days ! smile

ripsishere Tue 27-Nov-12 07:16:29

You are joking right. My DD is part of the legs akimbo theatre group. I am frequently invited to inspect her 'privates' for signs of hair and/or blood.
She doesn't invite DH thank goodness.

JugglingWithPossibilities Tue 27-Nov-12 07:29:48

Retrieves mildewed and cobwebbed manual "How to raise your child from birth to 20" from down the back of the sofa. Ahhhh ! so she did come with a manual - shame I mislaid it for a bit !!

< reads from ch.13 "individual differences will become more apparent during the teenage years" grin >

Dancergirl Tue 27-Nov-12 13:56:53

I would like to know about gaps between periods when they first start. Dd is 11.5 and had her first period in the summer holidays, around mid-August. She hasn't had another one since. I seem to remember having a long gap between early periods myself, but is there any ways to tell when she might get her next one? It's like waiting all over again!

JugglingWithPossibilities Tue 27-Nov-12 15:03:26

Have just ordered the teen starter pack plus other supplementary bits from the website so am beginning to feel better prepared already !

yummumto3girls Tue 27-Nov-12 23:43:43

My DD is 12 and yet to start her periods. I have bought her the Teen Starter Pack, which I was very impressed with. Have spoken to her about the products and directed her to the teen section of your website which she found helpful. I'd like to ask for advice on how soon to encourage tampon use after starting periods and whether there are any issues with early use of tampons.

UrbanSpaceManBaby Wed 28-Nov-12 12:04:45

A 'naice' lady came to talk to just us girls at school. To this day I can't go in a public lavatory without thinking about the spread of germs from the applicator to the door handle from the previous incumbent. Do brusk, no nonsense ladies still have to deliver talks to giggling girls whilst the boys are shunted into the hall for a double period. (No pun intended)

OhWesternWind Wed 28-Nov-12 12:09:37

Can anyone recommend a book for my dd age ten? She's had all the younger children books, the hair in funny places etc but wants something more "teen"y and I'd really appreciate some help with this.

Iamnotminterested Wed 28-Nov-12 14:33:33

DD won't wear any towels other than Lil-lets teen range grin, a customer for life, methinks.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 28-Nov-12 18:01:47

I would like to know if 2 ranges could be brought out, one with mixed tampons and towels and others with just towels.
I was only 9 when I started and my first try with tampons at 14 resulted in hospitalisation for several weeks and diagnosis of toxic shock. I have had the talk with dd aged 8 already as she is changing shape, I don't want to have to tell her she could die if she used a tampon, just yet.
Also it would help others in the same position as I know although rare there are other sufferers and most likely heriditary.

JugglingWithPossibilities Wed 28-Nov-12 18:25:28

Oh how awful for you potatoprints sad

morethanpotatoprints Wed 28-Nov-12 18:50:58

Thank you Juggling.

I don't really want to frighten anyone but there is a risk albeit a small one. Its difficult though, when do you warn your dd or explain the risk.
I had 2 mothers (long story). My natural mum died very young from this but it was related to contraceptive and not tampons. I only found out a few years ago through members of her family, as we never met.
60 people are diagnosed with it each year, although it affects men as well as women. Of these 30 are related to tampons and 2 or 3 people unfortunately die each year. It is the young as in children and elderly most susceptable.

I recommend everybody google the facts, not as I say to frighten anyone but to make your dd aware, even if you wait until they are older. I also don't think the risk is publicised enough in the packs, always very small print, for obvious reasons.

Just collecting info for my sheduled talk to y5/6 girls in my class next week about 'feminine hygiene' - hadn't even thought about toxic shock. Never done this before and can't find any materials at school. Any tips/ideas/warnings gratefully received.

FuckingWonderwoman Wed 28-Nov-12 21:26:58

How do I persuade DD1 that tampons are so much nicer to use than towels? She tried them on holiday last year (because it was either that or not go swimming) but as soon as she got out of the pool she rushed to get dressed and pull out the tampon. I have extolled the virtues of lil-lets, how you just whack it up with your finger, and no nasty scratchy applicator, and the joys of not having a chuff covered in goo, but she's just not interested.

JugglingWithPossibilities Wed 28-Nov-12 21:39:16

That's interesting Wonderwoman - I was so pleased when a friend suggested I try tampons - made periods so much better. I hadn't really thought of people / DD not liking them. Just wondered how early she could try them - as others have mentioned.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 28-Nov-12 21:43:45


I don't think toxic shock is a subject that should be covered at school, it would scare them to death. I'm not telling dd till she's older and hoping she will be happy with towels if she starts young.
The whole subject scares me because thank God cases are rare, however, because of this I don't think many people are told or warned of the symptoms, I certainly wasn't.
I read that most doctors will never experience a case, so it is v. rare.
FWIW symptoms include high temperature, which was immediate in my case. Flu like symptoms, vomiting, the runs, etc.
I just think it wise for all parents to be aware of this and monitor the use of tampons in the early days. Not much is known about it but some research was done in the 1980's and easily found through google.
Please all have a look.

JugglingWithPossibilities Wed 28-Nov-12 21:53:25

Seems maybe I'll just tell DD that if she feels fluey or has a temp or otherwise feels ill when she is using a tampon to take it out, use a towel instead, and either go to walk in centre/ call NHS Direct/ see her doctor/ go to A & E (depending how bad she feels ?) Does that sound about right ?
I do think I might feel slightly different considering your experience and family history potatoprints - So, can see that's a really tricky dilemma you've got there.

But I wouldn't want DD to feel as fed up as I did using rubbish towels for several years before my friend told me about tampons. I think in those days (70's) tampons were only for grown-ups (like my Mum) I don't remember anyone else really explaining them to me - just my friend.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 28-Nov-12 22:02:53

Oh I know juggling.

Swimming would be so difficult and I used to dance as well. I longed to be able to use tampons like my friends.
I think common sense is the only thing a parent needs to use and maybe just a bit of caution in the first few times of use.
I think knowing the facts helps but what you say above seems right. Not too scary which I think older girls could cope with. I'm not sure about 9 yr olds. If dd starts this young I'm afraid towels will be her only option, lol.
I must stress though, my circumstances were unusual, in that started at 9, was heavy with lots of pain. Then bloody toxic shock. (No pun).

I probably just need to say that it is important to change tampons very regularly and leave it at that?

troisenfants Thu 29-Nov-12 21:42:00

I always tried to use tampons when I was younger, but just never got the hang of them, finding it difficult and even painful to put them in and when I did eventually get them in, they always popped out as soon as I started to move around leading to potentially embarrassing situations! What advice (apart from the usual try to relax and don't tense up) would you give to mums on teaching their DD's how to insert a tampon and how to position them correctly?
I would like her to have the freedom I never had.

Notmyidea Fri 30-Nov-12 04:15:13

How can we, as mums, get them to appreciate the importance of personal hygiene;showering, frequent pad changes etc, ideally without nagging! Especially for the still-at-junior school starters who don't seem to have the vanity to care. (is it just mine?!)

JugglingWithPossibilities Fri 30-Nov-12 08:36:46

Hmm, DD at 13 seems a little sensitive at the suggestion of using deo - as I said she's quite a private person. Any discussion of sanpro when the time comes is going to have to be delicately handled smile

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 03-Dec-12 16:58:12

The Q&A is now closed. We'll be sending up to 20 questions over to Vicki Buffery later today and link to her answers from this thread on 12 December.

JugglingMeYorkiesAndNutRoast Wed 12-Dec-12 23:35:28

Looking like it might be the 13th now ? smile

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 13-Dec-12 11:06:48


Looking like it might be the 13th now ? smile

Sorry - there was a delay our end. The Q&A will be live later today and we'll link from this thread.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 13-Dec-12 17:42:27

Vicki's answers are now in and you can read the full Q&A here:

Q&A about starting periods with Lilets' Vicki Buffery

JugglingMeYorkiesAndNutRoast Thu 13-Dec-12 18:37:58

Thanks to Vicki for your answers - the discussion has helped me feel better prepared, as has ordering some items from your website for DD.

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