Back in our day if there was a question about sex, periods or any other embarrasing topic, we just consulted the pages of our beloved Dolly magazine and asked ‘Dolly Doctor’.  So what do the kids of today do (besides ask Google or Siri?) Well, if your pre-teen has questions about periods, turns out Dolly Doctor still has the answers for them!

Launched Aug 1st, Welcome to Your Period, is the ultimate menstruation manual for pre-teens (9-12 years) and is co-written by funny mama from Yumi Stynes and Dolly Doctor herself, Dr. Melissa Kang! Together they demystify everything from cramps to what to do with a used tampon, giving practical advice on surviving your period at school, at sleepovers or during sport, Welcome to Your Period is a complete guide. 

Welcome to Your Period takes the weird, mortifying and messy out of getting your period for the first time by offering candid advice on how to handle this bleeding business like a boss! Here’s a little sneak peak of what’s inside:

Before you get your period

Being prepared for something that’s never happened to you before is tricky, right? Luckily there ARE some things you can do to prepare for your first period. 

1. Sort out your period pack.

Having your supplies on hand will help you feel ready for anything!

2. Try on a pad.

Place the sticky side of the pad down onto your undies, underneath your vagina. Pull your undies back up and walk around. How does it feel? Pat your bum – can you feel it? Put your outfit back on and take a look in the mirror – can you see the pad through your clothes? Probably not, right?

3. Buy black undies.

Black undies are way better than light-coloured ones for hiding leaks and spills (and trust us, leaks and spills are going to happen from time to time). We recommend phasing in LOTS of black ones – you might feel more comfortable wearing these on heavier days.

4. Talk about it!

Ask your friends and the other period bosses in your life about their periods. We totally understand feeling a bit shy about it, but from experience we reckon you can always find a couple of menstruating adults who are up for a period chat! They may be able to share their experiences and give you some basic advice. 

5. Read a book!

The best thing about novels is that they allow you to experience something before it happens to you. Here are some of our favourite books that actually deal with periods in a meaningful way:

• The Last One in the Universe by Chrissie Perry

• Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Bloom

• To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldbery Sloan and Meg Wolitzer 

• And of course read this book! Knowledge is power!

Your period pack should include:

Menstruation products: Whether you prefer pads or tampons, include three in your pack. If you’re not sure yet, pads are a good place to start, but it’s nice to keep a spare tampon in there. They don’t take up much space, and one of your friends – or a stranger- might ask you for one.

Spare undies: It’s a good idea to keep these in a ziplock bag. If you have a period bleed on your undies then you can swap them for the clean pair and pop the stained ones into the ziplock bag to be washed when you get home.

Pain medication: If you sometimes take pain medication like ibuprofen or paracetamol for your period, add two tablets to your period pack. 

Emergency chocolate: Just in case because chocolate is yum.

Keep your period pack handy so that you can easily grab it at school, on your way home, out with friends or at your after-school job. A special little bag might seem a bit fancy or fussy, but we strongly recommend it because your period supplies can get really beaten up if they’re bouncing around loose inside your schoolbag. Or they might jump out of your bag when you’re not looking!

I talked to two of my cousins and to my best friend. They knew heaps about periods from their mothers, ages before they got them, and shared that with me. We still collectively freaked out before any of us got our first period, but once we did, it was like, ‘Oh! That’s not that bad after all.’ Dr Melissa

This is an edited extract from Welcome to your Period by Yumi Stynes and Dr. Melissa Kang published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $19.99 and is available in stores nationally.