A step by step guide to making a DIY First Period Emergency Kit!
Your Mighty Girl probably has a few things tucked in her backpack "just in case" — stuff like a little cash, an extra bus ticket, or even just a few spare pens. But does she have a "just in case" first period kit? As girls approach puberty, it's important for parents to provide her with a few supplies in case she starts her period away from home. And, the start of a new school year is the perfect time to stash a first period kit in her backpack and talk to her about what to expect when her period comes.
It's important to start talking about periods early; although the average age of menarche in the US is 12, girls can start their periods any time between the ages of 8 and 15. In particular, parents should keep in mind that a girl's first period usually (but not always!) happens about two years after her breasts start to develop. So as soon as you start noticing physical changes in your Mighty Girl, you should start the on-going discussion about puberty and periods. The books and resources in our blog posts A Time of Change: Talking with Tweens and Teens About Their Bodies and That Time of the Month: Teaching Your Mighty Girl About Her Menstrual Cycle are detailed and medically accurate options you can read with her or give her to reference on her own.
In your conversation about her soon-to-be monthly cycle, make sure you get into some of the details! Let her know that her first period may involve very little bleeding, and that the blood may be light red, dark red, or even brown, and that all are normal. You can tell her that she may feel some cramping, tiredness, or headaches — or she may feel nothing at all in advance. Every body is different, and she should know that she doesn't necessarily need to worry just because her friend's experience was different than her own. And make sure she knows she can always talk to you if she's concerned about a period symptom or anything related to her period.
In this blog post, we'll take you step by step through creating a first period kit that works for your Mighty Girl, as well as a few pre-made kits if you don't want to build one from scratch, and highlight a few key things to tell her along the way. This one-on-one conversation can build on the more factual information she may have learned in sex education or in puberty guides she's read. By having these positive, encouraging conversations now, and ensuring she knows what to do when she has her first cycle, she'll feel prepared for this major step into adulthood!
Step One: Pick A Pouch
A good pouch is an important part of any period kit! The pouch you choose should be large enough to hold at least a period product, a few wipes for clean-up, and a spare pair of underwear. Some girls may want it to be large enough to hold a spare pair of leggings or shorts as well. You'll also want to make sure it's small enough to fit into her backpack, and that it's something she'll feel comfortable carrying to the bathroom or change room when she needs it.
Here are some of our favorite pouches that are the right size for a first period kit, but you can find more options in our Pouches / Supply Bags Collection.
The brightest witch of her age knows how valuable a trip to the library can be! Pay tribute to the inimitable Hermione Granger with this pouch from Out of Print. This 9 by 6 inch canvas pouch is perfect for holding school supplies, travel necessities, and more. Plus, you can feel good about buying this pouch: it's made in the US, and with every pouch sold, Out of Print's charitable outreach program contributes to literacy initiatives for communities in need around the world.
Mighty Girls on the go will love this small waterproof pouch from Loomiloo! These zippered 8.6 by 5.3 inch pouches are just the right size for toiletries, school supplies, a first period kit, and more. A wide variety of colorful patterns ensure that every Mighty Girl will find a design she loves.
Let chibi-style versions of Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley, Minerva McGonagall, and other characters from the Harry Potter series keep you company this year with this fun character print pouch! This 8 by 4 inch pouch is perfect as a supply pouch, and she'll love the tribute to her favorite characters from the Wizarding World.
Fight like a girl with this awesome zipper pouch by Blue Q! This 9.5 by 7.25 inch zippered pouch is perfect for school supplies, travel, and more. It features a tattoo-style graphic of a woman and the text "fight like a girl." It's waterproof, easy to clean, and it's made of 95% post-consumer recycled materials! Fans of this pouch can also check out Blue Q's Fight Like A Girl socks.
This large waterproof pouch from Bumkins is the perfect solution if your Mighty Girl wants to include a spare pair of leggings or shorts in her first period kit! This 12 by 14 inch pouch is made from Bumkins' signature polyester fabric with a waterproof layer; it's easy to clean and you can even carry a wet swimsuit in it without leaks. Girls will love this colorful Wonder Woman design, and there are other cheerful designs to choose from. Meanwhile, parents will appreciate that it's BPA, lead, and phthalate free.
Step Two: Choose A Period Product
The most important consideration for your Mighty Girl's first period kit is what product she's comfortable using! It's a good idea to talk to her about what she might prefer; she can always explore the broader selection of period products later. Most girls will be most comfortable with a pad at first, but some may be interested in using a product like a cup from the beginning. She might even want a simple pair of period underwear in her kit, either as her permanent preferred product or as a familiar item to use until she gets home. Whatever product she picks, encourage her to take a look at it ahead of time, and even practice putting it on and taking it off, so that she's not trying it for the first time when she needs it.
These teen-sized disposable pads from U by Kotex are a great choice for tween and teen girls. These ultra-thin pads are also smaller, shorter, and narrower than standard pads, so they'll fit smaller girls better than one designed for a full-grown woman. Wings help keep the pad in place, while the lotion- and fragrance-free materials are easy on her skin. This set of four packs of 34 pads each is likely enough to see her through a whole school year, or to make sure she can help out friends when they need a spare.
Since their launch, women have loved Thinx period underwear, either alone or as a backup to another period product; now tweens and teens can enjoy them too! Thinx are washable, reusable period underwear with an absorbent layer in the gusset. Unlike the women's Thinx, which come in a selection of absorbancy levels, all BTWN underwear comes in maximum absorbancy, so she won't have to worry about inconsistent flow. Available in girls' sizes 9/10, 11/12, 13/14, and 15/16.
These period underwear from Tanscan are a terrific option for tweens and teens as a backup for their favorite period product so she'll never have to worry about leaks! These 95% cotton, 5% spandex underwear have a leakproof lining just in case a pad shifts or a tampon or cup leaks. Each pack comes with three colorful pairs, so she'll have enough for a few days before she needs to do a wash. Available in sizes to fit girls 70 to 100 pounds, 100 to 120 pounds, and 120 to 145 pounds.
This five pack of bamboo menstrual pads from Wegreeco even comes with its own wet bag! Wegreeco pads come in three sizes, including this small 8" long size that's perfect for tweens and young teens. The bamboo layer is soft on the skin, while the outer cover is both waterproof and comes in a variety of fun, colorful prints. Plus, girls will love how easy it is to pop the pads into the included bag for cleaning.
If she'd like to try a menstrual cup for her periods, this menstrual cup from LENA is a great place to start! Made from 100% medical grade silicone and registered with the FDA, this cup is available in two sizes: the small size is best for first-time users and girls and women with a light flow, while the larger size is best for older teens and women or those with a heavy flow. While using a menstrual cup takes some practice, girls will love being able to do whatever they want — dance, run, even swim! — for a full day without worrying about their menstrual product.
Step Three: Add Wipes For Easy Cleanup
The first time your Mighty Girl has her period, she probably won't recognize the feeling right away, so there may be some cleanup involved! Toilet paper alone probably won't be up to the challenge, so make sure that she has some pre-moistened wipes (ones that are gentle enough to be appropriate for the sensitive skin around her vulva) on hand to help out. Just make sure that she knows not to flush them; she should put them in the designated bin for menstrual products if one is available, or wrap them in toilet paper and throw them in the main garbage can if not.
This pack of 30 individually wrapped moist wipes from Stall Mates are the just the right size to toss in a backpack pocket, period kit, or toiletries bag! These 8 by 6 inch wipes come in sealed 3 by 3 inch packages that are small enough to tuck just about anywhere. The hypoallergenic formula, which includes aloe, cucumber, and chamomile, is paraben, alcohol, and fragrance free, so it's gentle on sensitive skin. Plus, Stall Mates is committed to environmentally friendly manufacturing, including biodegradable products, solar powered facilities, and no animal testing.
Step Four: Extras and Final Touches
For final touches on your kit, make sure your Mighty Girl has a pair of spare underwear; you can toss in a spare regular pair, or use a product like Thinx mentioned above as both a spare pair and a period product. If she's worried that she'll stain her pants as well, picking a larger pouch gives you the option to add a spare pair of shorts or leggings, just in case!
Some parents like to include a few products in case she experiences pain with her first period, like a small self-warming pad; if your school policy allows it, you could also include a single dose of an over-the-counter painkiller. And as an extra special touch, you could add a little gift or a supportive note to celebrate this big transition! A surprise from you could go a long way to making her first period experience a positive one.
Pre-Made First Period Kits
Not every parent wants to build a kit from scratch! If you'd prefer a pre-made kit, here are some of our favorite options.
The Be Prepared. Period Survival Kit gives you everything you need to go with the flow, no matter where it happens! This complete period kit that can easily fit in your purse, backpack or gym bag to ensure that you're always prepared. The set comes with a sequin bag full of eco-friendly products, including two natural pads with wings, a pantyliner, disposal bags, and a wipe. Plus, it's meant to be refillable; you can replace the products from their website or with additional products of your own.