Tampon-Talk. Girls fear it and mothers dread it, but explaining how to use a tampon doesn’t have to be so hard. Every woman has a tampon story to tell. Some are terribly sad, some uneventful, and some are surprisingly hilarious. Your own personal story is a useful tool for starting this awkward conversations.
In all seriousness, girls do need specific guidance when trying them for the first time. Here are a few pointers so you can give your daughter specific and helpful advice on how to insert a tampon.
WARNING: You may find this uncomfortable but read on anyway. If you just can’t, pass this to an aunt or older sister who might be a better fit for teaching your tween.
Teaching Your Daughter How to Insert a Tampon: 5 Easy Steps
1. Use visuals.
Show her a diagram with a side-view of the female reproductive system and point out the angle of the vagina and how it slants towards the spine. It helps if she holds the tampon at a 45-degree angle as she inserts it.
2. Figure out what’s what.
Advise that she find her vaginal opening and to insert her finger as far as it will go (wash with soap first) before trying to insert the tampon. Once she finds the opening and understands her own anatomy (which can be the hardest part) it will be much easier to start the process and save her the frustration and discomfort of poking herself a million times.
3. Be specific.
Be sure to tell her how to insert the tampon into her vagina. When putting in a tampon, slowly insert as far as it will go (without it hurting of course); if it is even remotely sticking out of her vagina, it will cause discomfort and possibly pain. It’s also important that she knows that the applicator must be inserted all the way into her vagina before she pushes the tampon out.
4. Start small (and plastic).
Plastic applicators are the easiest to use, and be sure to buy small tampons geared towards the tweens and teens.
5. Teach safe tampon use.
Fortunately, toxic shock syndrome is rare these days, but it’s still important to teach girls to use tampons safely. Specifically: use the lowest absorbency possible; change tampons every three hours; don’t leave tampons in over night; consider using tampons for just a few days; and wash your hands.
These aren’t the only methods employed and some girls get no help at all. Whatever your technique, any help at all can go a long way and bravo for trying. Consider having a girls’ night, with several mother-daughter pairs clad in jammies and eating pizza – the group dynamic is fun and can significantly increase the quality of the conversation. You can do it, and don’t forget how to tell them to take the damn thing out!