The busy mum’s guide to a comfortable period

It’s something you’ve had to deal with since you were a teen, but now you have to get through your time of the month while coping with cramps and kids. Here are five steps to help everyone get to the other side unscathed…

Once upon a time, in the era we shall refer to as BC (Before Children), you probably had the luxury of snuggling under the covers with a hot water bottle when you were suffering from period pains.

But now the school run, work and demanding little ones mean you’re lucky if you get to sit down, let alone have a duvet day.

The key, then, is to learn ways of dealing with that period-induced pain and grogginess without it interrupting your day. Here’s how…

Dose up

Many prefer not to pop a pill to deal with pain, but if you have a hectic day ahead and period pains are causing discomfort, painkillers are the failsafe way of shaking off that nagging ache.

Anti-inflammatories aspirin and ibuprofen are best for dealing with muscular pain, such as period pains, as well as headaches. Make sure you read the instructions and follow the dosages carefully, and don’t use aspirin and ibuprofen together.

In lieu of being able to cuddle up to a hot water bottle, try a stick-on heat pad, available from pharmacies and supermarkets, which will soothe your stomach or back with warmth throughout the day.

Be honest with your kids

Thanks to the delight of hormones, you may find you have less patience with your children – and everyone else – at this time of the month.

Kids are sensitive to changes in mood, so it’s important to let them know you are not your usual self because of your period and not because of anything they have done. Let them know it is a sensitive issue and you need their understanding and help.

If they are too young to understand periods, simply explain that mummy isn’t feeling very well and, just as you look after them when they are unwell, you would like them to behave themselves and let you have some rest so you can feel better.

Get comfy

Make sure you are wearing comfy, loose clothing, with nothing too restrictive around your stomach. A long, empire-line top with leggings, or a maxidress are good options. In winter, nothing beats a big cosy jumper. But remember to wear a T-shirt underneath in case you get a hot flash.

To avoid feeling damp or sticky, make sure you wear an ultra-absorbent sanitary pad. With a soft, cotton-like top layer, Always Sensitive pads are comfortable and ideal for sensitive types prone to soreness and itching, particularly around their period.

Do gentle exercise

While hitting the gym is understandably unappealing, gentle stretching exercises can help ease the pain. Yoga is a great idea and can help with stress-relief too.

If the kids are in tow, take a walk in the park for a blast of fresh air and a release of endorphins, nature’s painkiller.

Eat well

There’s no denying the food we all want when we’re on our period: chocolate. The good news is, you can have it. But try to stick to the dark stuff, as this will satisfy your craving more quickly, boost your mood and can even help alleviate cramps – and without the high levels of fat and sugar in dairy options.

When eating meals, try to incorporate foods rich in magnesium, calcium and antioxidants, which all work to help reduce menstrual cramps.

For example, use soy milk on your cereal, or chuck cherries and blueberries in your smoothie. Tuck into a healthy salad for lunch, with beans, spinach, kale, tomatoes and peppers, and make courgette spaghetti for dinner. And, as always, drink lots of water.

The last thing you feel like doing is housework, but if needs must, take a look at our Speedy clean-up for busy mums to make sure it takes you minimum time.

What are your tips for coping with your period? Let us know in the comments section below.