Puberty is a difficult time for both children and parents. For kids it's a big change, and for parents it's usually the first time they confront the fact that their baby isn't a baby anymore. Pre-puberty can start in girls as young as 8. It is important to be able to recognise the onset of puberty in your child so you can explain to her what is happening and help prepare her for the big life changes ahead. What follows is a brief description of the earliest signs that puberty is about to begin in a girl.
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Emotional Ups and Downs
It is normal for a girl to experience rapid emotional fluctuations at the onset of puberty. As her ovaries start to increase in size and prepare to emit oestrogen into the body, your daughter may begin to have mood swings. She may become more sensitive or lash out at you more often.
The very first inkling of breast tissue growth will occur before puberty starts in a major way. The first thing you will notice is the nipples getting darker and becoming larger. A girl's breasts will begin to swell slightly, and she may complain that they're sore or tender. A training bra may be in order once these signs are observed.
As your daughter reaches pubescent age, you may notice a white discharge in her underwear when doing the laundry. This discharge is a normal sign of the hormonal shifts caused by puberty and should not be a cause for alarm. You may wish to ask her if she's experienced pain or itching in her genital area, as these may be symptoms of an infection.
Another sign of pre-puberty in young girls is a noticeable change in the thickness and darkness of body hair. The hair on her arms and legs will likely look coarser and fuller. Some pubic hair may start to grow, although this usually doesn't happen until she is in full puberty.
A growth spurt is often concurrent with the onset of puberty in girls. She will likely grow several inches over the span of a few years. Her hips will start to broaden as her body prepares to start her menstrual cycle and become capable of childbirth.
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