Swimming during your period: Does your period stop?

A never-ending period myth (that I overheard a mom unknowingly perpetuate recently) is that when you take a dip in the pool (or lake or ocean) your period magically stops.

The fact of the matter is that: it doesn’t.

While your flow can be temporarily impacted by water pressure, your flow continues whether you are in the water or not.

At some point in your menstruating years, there will come a time when the timing of your period will coincide with a water event (amusement park water slide, pool party, beach vacation, sailboat excursion). But, just because you are menstruating does not mean you cannot partake in the fun! And, while we’re on the subject of swimming, let’s nuke the nonsense about sharks and menstrual blood. Sharks may have a superior sense of smell, but a whiff of menstrual blood won’t do much for them as Popular Science debunks.  

Broken folk tales aside, there are options for navigating the sea of inquiry when it comes to managing your menstrual cycle when water play is involved:

  1. Grab a pair of menstrual underwear. Today, women have a number of options for managing their flow beyond disposable pads and liners, including organic tampons and menstrual cups. However, if you aren’t yet ready for insertable options, Panty Prop has created menstrual swimwear which can be worn while engaged in water activities. Panty Prop undergarments are leak-proof and can be worn alone or with a tampon or menstrual cup. 
  2.  Try “insertable” menstrual hygiene options. Two additional options available for menstruating gals are tampons and menstrual cups. Menstrual cups have in recent years become more popular in the U.S., although have been wildly successful (as have menstrual sponges) in Europe and other parts of the globe due to their environmentally-friendly and cost-savings benefits. Menstrual cups, which are safe, easily-cleaned, help to reduce landfill waste, and can be worn swimming, are worn inside the vagina to collect menstrual fluid. The reusable menstrual cups need only be replaced once every 10 years, so they are super easy on the pocketbook, too. Period Packs sells a gift box containing a Lunette menstrual cup given growing popularity of menstrual cups by young ladies. Some known brands include the DivaCup, Mooncup, and LadyCup.  Tampons are another insertable option that like a menstrual cup, can create a bit of anxiety for young menstruators. Fortunately, tampon manufacturers understand that each body is different and make available “slim design” options, tampons housed in comfortable applicators, and even some without applicators to best suit each woman’s personal comfort and needs. Tampons can be worn while swimming, but due to their design (most made of cotton) and absorption properties,  they will need to be changed more regularly, if used during swim, so bring extras! Tip: Tampon strings have a way of shifting, so once inserted, be sure to the string is tucked in safely.Period Packs - suntan
  3. Wait it out. To avoid missing the fun, put on your bathing suit (with pad/liner) and just enjoy the festivities! If anyone asks why you aren’t swimming, tell them you are working on your tan! Some options above may not yet be in your comfort zone. Don’t worry! You don’t need to miss out on anything. Don your new bikini or swimsuit and enjoy the sunshine while taking a temporary pass on water play. Tip: Consider wearing black or dark-colored bottoms/suits to conceal any potential leaks.

Summer is on its way and swimming is a fantastic, low-impact form of exercise that can only benefit your bod and well being! Don’t let your period slow you down!

Do fitness trackers perpetuate negative body image?

fitness tracker period packRight after Christmas, I saw an interesting post from a mom on Facebook which read, “Initial reaction: A 10-year-old girl gets a Fitbit (that she never asked for).

Let me begin by divulging that I am a fitness tracker wearer (a Fitbit no less!) and am a fan of these fabulous gadgets. Because I enjoy mine so much, I bought my own 12-year-old daughter a Fitbit this Christmas (although I did so to track sleep patterns as she suffers from severe sleep apnea). Even so, she’s a 12-year-old girl who didn’t ask for a Fitbit. The post on Facebook felt eerily similar.  What was even more surprising were the responses (from other moms):

“Shock. Dismay. Hug that kid. Slap the gift-giver.”

“That’s weird. Starting an eating disorder off right.”

As I scrolled further through the comments section, I saw some suggesting that a 10-year-old shouldn’t own such an expensive piece of hardware. Others seemed concerned that the young lady would get a negative body image complex.

These viewpoints took me aback and caused me to stop breathing for at least a few seconds.

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Preparing for your daughter’s first ob-gyn visit

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends the first gynecological exam should be scheduled between the ages of 13 and 15, or once puberty is well underway.

As women with daughters of our own, we realize that our 13-15 year old daughters to us, are still little girls. However, parents, and how they feel about doctors in general, play a pivotal role in when and how children access medical professionals. It is important that all women have regular ob-gyn visits, therefore, the first experience will set the tone for all future visits.

The main reasons for introducing a gynecologist include:

  • Establishing a comfortable relationship
  • Providing another resource for information about puberty and sex
  • Proper health monitoring (PAP smears/pelvic and breast exams)
  • Specialized care for potential complications (irregular or painful periods which could signal conditions such as endometriosis)

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An interview with Christy from buckshotinc

Inside Period Packs gift boxes is a unique and very special element hand-crafted by a mom of three, our black polka-dot wristlet hand-sewn and designed by buckshotinc.

Period-Packs-wristletDesigned with our signature black-polka-dot theme, these beautiful bags can be used to store pads, liners, tampons, wipes, lip gloss, cash, ID, phone, etc.  We felt so fortunate to make the acquaintance of designer, Christy Hundley, who hand-sews these unique bags for Period Packs, and also designs a host of other products through her business, Buckshotinc.

Period Packs takes great pains to curate unique products. We get especially excited when we stumble upon businesses owned and operated by not just women, but moms! Christy embodies both an entrepreneurial spirit and super-creative and crafty intellect that burst from her very soul!  It was a match made in Heaven and one that has been in existence for going on three years!

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Interview with Scen-Ties

Team Period Packs invests a decent amount of time curating unique products to include in our gift boxes as most people don’t want things they can buy themselves off the store shelf. With that in mind, we attend trade shows and craft fairs in search of cool items to scoop up for our clients. One such product, spotted last Fall, was Scen-Tiesscented hair ties

Scen-Ties are delicious-smelling hair ties that can be worn in your hair (adding both color, flair and scent), on your wrist, or even attached to your favorite backpack or gym bag. The brilliant invention was created by Newburyport, Mass-resident and mom of four, Kara Healy Dahn.

kara healy dahnThe Backstory

As Kara was making and selling hair clips through her company, Queen Bee Barrette, she realized the children’s hair accessory market was oversaturated with bows, headbands, and clips. She would spend countless hours thinking of ways to create something new and different. As a fan of Strawberry Shortcake dolls as a child (which some may remember smelled fabulous!), she thought, “scented hair tie.” And that is when her journey began.

After a visit with a patent attorney and a bit of product design tweaking, Scen-Ties scented hair ties were born.

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What color is your period? Blue or Red?

A few years ago, our team was riveted by an absolutely amazing period-positive video released by UK-based feminine hygiene product manufacturer, BodyForm. The company’s PR team quickly turned a Facebook post (written by a man) into a dynamic conversation about periods known as: The Truth.

Since then, BodyForm has tackled the period tax, and most recently added its own unique flair to its #bloodnormal campaign. And, we just can’t get enough of it.

Bodyform’s new advert announces “Periods are normal. Showing them should be too” as  away to further remove stigma associated with periods. Period blood is red, however for years, advertising about the “absorption ability” of menstrual pads was typically depicted using blue liquid. Scientifically speaking, blood is blue when inside your body, but once it hits the air, it turns red.

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Teaching Daughters with Down Syndrome about periods…

down syndrome awarenessIt was an exciting time for us 12 years ago, when my husband and I welcomed not only our first born, but a beautiful baby girl! We were thrilled about starting our family and having a girl made it even more exciting, having been raised with all boys (my father and 3 brothers to be exact). When we learned we were having a girl, we “pinked out” her entire wardrobe, bedroom, stroller and car seat. A girl! We couldn’t wait! Our few-day expected stay at the hospital quickly became several weeks as our daughter was born with Down syndrome.For those unfamiliar with Down syndrome (also referred to as Trisomy 21), it is a genetic condition in which three copies of the 21st chromosome appears instead of the expected two. The results of the trisomy can be intellectual, physical or developmental delays, all of which range in intensity from individual to individual. Our daughter’s diagnosis was a surprise and it threw us head-first into a completely new normal. We needed to not only learn how to be good parents, but parents to a newborn with a medical diagnosis.

Twelve years later, I can say with confidence that it hasn’t been all that much different. She’s a sassy tween-ager who enjoys her friends and her privacy. She gives her twin brothers a hard time, slams the door on occasion, and has perfected the tweeny eye roll (much to my and her father’s dismay). As our young lady began to age, we knew would one day need to address menstruation with her. Who better than the founders of Period Packs, right?

Our daughter has helped us build, fill, and ship countless boxes to other young ladies, but when she turned 9, we started to discuss menstruation and puberty more in depth to give her a head start. Fortunately, she wasn’t grossed out or uncomfortable as she’s helped with the business for years, and together, we read several books that taught about periods, hygiene, shaving, bras, etc. She had seen me in the bathroom changing my own pads and tampons; had asked questions, and knew generally what to expect. So, when she started menstruating this past year, she not only knew exactly how to handle it, she handled it as if it was any other day. Both my husband and I were pleased with how comfortable she was, and how responsible. We knew that early preparation had helped ease her awkwardness and fear. She knew what to expect and was prepared. Continue reading

When to talk about periods…

Since the Fall school session began, several news pieces have surfaced that discuss the plight of elementary and middle school teachers finding themselves in the precarious position of explaining menstruation to students at school. Some students in grades 3-6 find themselves caught without feminine hygiene supplies, while others are sadly, completely in the dark.

Imagine for a moment the embarrassment and discomfort you’d feel if your period started at school (in front of all your classmates) and you weren’t prepared. Or, worse, that it started and you thought you were dying because you didn’t know why blood was flowing from your private parts?   The news articles linked above prove that these scenarios happen.

We learned this past summer from responses to our Chief Maxi’s “period party” post that parents still find menstruation a topic they prefer to avoid, or simply don’t consider discussing given the young ages of their children. Young women aged 8-14 can begin their period, and these days, often begin at the ages of 9-12–still babies in many parents’ minds.  The reality however is that come 3rd grade, young women are definitely in the realm of puberty, even if we don’t want to think about it.

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Period kits in school

As students returned to school in early September, Detroit-based middle school teacher Kristin Heavner publicly posted a Facebook photo of a repurposed make up bag from Ipsy filled with a pad, tampon and wipes. She posted the photo explaining that her makeshift “menstruation care packs” were a necessity for students who unexpectedly start their periods at school. In middle school, she said, “this happens A LOT.”

Her post has gone viral, receiving more than 11K shares and 18K likes, and an overwhelmingly positive response.  Many of those who commented on the post said they wished they had her as a teacher when they were enduring their menstrual cycle in middle school. This teacher took amazing initiative to create these kits rather than sending her students (already stressed out and embarrassed) to the school nurse or main office to fetch feminine hygiene supplies. She has also been funding them out of her own pocket. For both reasons, Ms. Heavner, we applaud you!

At the same time, the fact that she needed to create these pouches is somewhat alarming.  If Ms. Heavner is putting mini period kits together (on a teacher’s salary and with a family of her own to care for), why aren’t parents?

Across the board, schools have lost proper health education, art, music and various other programs courtesy of budget cuts. Within all of the comments on this teacher’s Facebook post, there wasn’t one concerned parent, questioning why this teacher was doling out supplies. No question about why pubescent tweens/teens are being left to fend for themselves at school save these little kits from one very thoughtful and astute middle school teacher. The absent commentary makes it feel as if parents are not only at ease with this, they are perhaps grateful to Ms. Heavner for contending with less-than-comfortable subject matter. The mere fact that this post has gone viral should be as shocking as it is celebratory.

How can we openly celebrate this teacher’s wonderfully supportive “menstruation aware” good deed, yet fail to question why she is personally bearing this burden? Where are the parents in this equation?

P.S. Ms. Heavner: If you need some extra supplies, email us and we’ll send you some to keep in your desk drawer for students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PMS: An illuminating menstruation moment

Like any other September school day, I woke all three of my children, fully expecting each of them to join me in the kitchen for a warm breakfast, before-school chatter, and chore assignments.

The day seemed to start typically until I ascended the stairs to get myself ready, and found my 12-year-old daughter not getting herself ready and instead, was lounging on my bed. Looking at the clock, I started to panic as we needed to be out the door in less than 5 minutes if we wished to arrive at school on time (a struggle for us on many days already).

Visibly unhappy, I asked my daughter, “why are you laying in bed when you are supposed to be getting ready for school?” Seeing my dissatisfaction, she ever-so-slowly rose, stared at me, and started to cry. I stood there stunned and unsure of exactly what to do.  My urgent get-somewhere-on-time-mommy-expectations were twisted up with my own emotional upheaval and my daughter’s unexpected teary outburst.  Why was she crying? She’s gotten herself ready for school every single school day for upwards of 9 years! She wasn’t injured. No fever or high temperature could be located. I was clueless!  Fortunately (and within a few minutes), she pulled herself together, put on her uniform, brushed her teeth and hair, and made her way into the car. En route to school (albeit a few minutes late), I looked at the digital car calendar and realized the date. We were within a few days of my daughter’s next menstrual cycle. How could I have done this to my precious baby girl? I didn’t see it coming! I wasn’t prepared! I failed her! All of these thoughts swirled in my head and I began to stroke her soft hair in apology.

Just two short months ago, my 12-year-old started menstruating. As a dutiful mom and woman, I taught her how to accurately chart her cycle and manage her feminine hygiene needs. I reminded her of the importance of showering and wearing deodorant, yet here I was, forgetting to walk her through the rampant emotional precursors to her monthly cycle—-otherwise known as PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome).

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