- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
About the Author:
: Lynda Madaras is the author of eleven books on health, childcare, and parenting. For more than twenty years, she taught sex and health education in Pasadena and Santa Monica, California. She has made numerous appearances on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, PBS, and more. REVIEW: Growing up has never been this easy....Lynda Madaras makes it less painful for all concerned. (Booklist)
You're growing up. Of course, that's nothing new. After all, you've been growing up all your life.
Ever since the day you were born, you've been growing in many ways. Year by year, you've been growing bigger. You've been getting taller and heavier. But this growing up is different.
Maybe you've noticed little bumps growing under your nipples. Your chest is not flat anymore. Sometimes the little bumps may feel itchy of sore. You are growing breasts!
Or maybe you're seeing some hairs in places that were bare before. Hair may be growing on your "private parts." (This hair is called pubic hair.) Hair may be starting to grow under your arms, too.
Has any of this stuff happened to you? If so, you may be asking, "Am I weird?"
No! You are not weird. You are 100% NORMAL! You're just starting puberty.
What if none of this has happened to you yet? Does that mean you're weird?
No! You are not weird, either. You are 100% NORMAL, too! You haven't started puberty yet, but you will. Sooner or later all of us start puberty.
What Is Puberty?
Puberty is a special time in a girl's life. During puberty, a girl's body changes into a woman's body. This doesn't happen all at once. It takes years to go through puberty. From start to finish, puberty may take anywhere from two to five (or more) years.
How does puberty start? What happens first? That depends. For many girls, the first sign of puberty is their breasts starting to develop. But for many others, puberty starts with the growth of some pubic hair. Less often, under-arm hair is the first change.
The first changes are just the start. They are followed by many others. Maybe you already know about these changes. In my puberty classes, we make lists of these changes. I divide everyone into teams. Each team has an outline of the female body. They also have a bunch of markers.
On your mark, get set, go! Each team writes as many changes as they can. Then, I call time. The team with the longest list wins. At the left is one winning team's list.
You may not know what some of the words in this list mean. Not to worry! This book will teach you about all these changes.
As you can see, puberty is a time of many changes. The kids in my classes have lots of questions about these changes. Chances are, you do, too. That's what this book is all about-answering your questions about growing up.
When Does Puberty Start?
Girls don't all start puberty at the same age. Most girls start between the ages of eight and a half and 11. But some start puberty earlier than eight and a half. And some start later than 11. Each girl is special. Each girl's body grows at the rate that is just right for her.
It's hard to be different. Girls who are late starters often wish puberty would start sooner.
I wish I was further along. It seems like I'm the last in my class to get boobs.
Girls who are early starters often wish puberty has started later.
I didn't want to start before my friends. I didn't like being different from my friends.
If you're an early or a late starter, try to be patient. Know that your body is growing up at the speed that's right for you. In a few years, you and your friends will all have started puberty. Then it won't matter who was first or last. After all, we all end up in the same place-grown up!
Feelings about Puberty and Growing Up
I just started puberty and I'm really proud. I'm really excited and happy about it.
When I started to get breasts I didn't want people to see them. I used to wear baggy shirts so they wouldn't show.
Puberty is scary. Sometimes I think about all these changes and it's, well, kind of scary.
You may feel really proud about starting puberty. Or you may feel embarrassed. You may be a little scared thinking about all the changes. You may feel one way one time, and another way another time. Feelings are like that.
When you're feeling proud, enjoy that feeling. Hold your head high. If you have some scary or embarrassed feelings, take heart. You're not alone! Other girls are feeling the same way. We all go through the same changes. We all make it!
For most of us, puberty is a mixed bag. Sometimes you'll feel great. Other times, you may not feel so great. That's part of growing up.
Fact is, puberty isn't always a piece of cake. But there are things you can do to make it a little easier. Be prepared. Read this book with your mom, dad, of another adult you trust. Ask questions. Get the facts. Know what's happening to your body. Puberty is a lot less scary when you know what to expect.
You can also read this book with your friends. Talk about puberty changes. Giggle. Ask how your friends feel about their changing bodies. Talk about how you feel.
The more you know and the more you talk about your feelings, the easier it will be!
List of Changes
Get breasts Pubic hair Growing really fast More body fat Hips wider Hair under your arms Darker hair on arms and legs Start shaving legs (maybe) Sweat more Body odor changes Zits, pimples, acne Discharge Get your period Get cramps Changes in your private parts Ovulate Female organs mature
Growing Up Doesn't Mean You're a Grown-Up
When puberty starts you might think that now you have to act differently.
"I'm, afraid that now I'll have to always act grown up. But I don't want to have to act all growth up."
You may feel this way, too. But puberty doesn't happen all at once. True, you are growing up. But that doesn't mean you have to be a grown-up. You've got lots of time yet. Your body may be changing, but you can still be a kid. You can still climb a tree.
You can still be "just friends" with boys. You can act goofy. You can still play "little girl" games.
You can be grown up for a time. Then you can act like a kid again. You can watch cartoons one day and MTV the next.
You can do whatever you feel like doing. It's up to you. Be what you want to be.
Chapter Two Buds, Boobs, and Bras Your Growing Breasts
I kept wanting to grow up. Then my breasts started to grow! I thought, "Finally, it's happening." I was so happy when my breasts started growing ... I was so proud. I felt real grown up. I didn't look forward to getting boobs. Once I had them, I didn't want them. It was embarrassing when boys "looked" at me.
When I saw my boobs were developing ... well, I just wasn't ready for it. I thought, "This can't be happening. Not yet!" I wasn't ready for the whole "Becoming-a-Woman" bit.
You may be happy about your breasts starting to grow. Or you may not be happy at all. Either way, sooner or later, your breasts will begin to grow.
Breast Growth Begins
Breast growth starts with breast buds. These are little bumps that form under your nipples. A breast bud is flat and round, like a button. It makes your nipple and the ring of tissue around it stick out from your chest.
A bud may develop under one nipple before the other. Don't worry. Before too long, the other breast bud will begin to grow.
Your breast buds may be itchy or sore. At times, they may be really sore! Not to worry! It's perfectly normal.
For many girls, breast buds are the first sign of puberty. Most girls get breast buds when they are between the ages of eight and a half and 11. But everyone is different. Some girls are only seven when their breasts begin to develop. And that's OK. Others don't get breast buds until they are 12 or older. And that's OK, too.
At the same time you develop breast buds, you may notice other changes. The ring around each nipple, the areola, gets larger and darker in color. Later, the nipple itself will also get larger.
Nipples come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They're often very sensitive to touch. When cold, they may get hard and stick out.
Sometimes, instead of sticking out, a nipple will point inward. It's kind of like belly buttons. There are "innies" and "outies." Most nipples are "outies." But a girl may have one or both nipples pointing inward. As the breasts develop, an "innie" may turn into an "outie," or it may not. It's OK if you have "innies" or "outies"-or even one of each!
Breast buds are just the beginning. Your breasts keep on growing and changing during puberty.
Doctors talk about five stages of breast growth. Look at the pictures on this page. Can you tell which stage you're in?
Stage (1) Childhood
Breast buds have not started to grow. The chest is almost flat. Only the nipples stick out from the chest.
Stage (2) Breast Buds
The breasts start to develop. Breast buds form under the nipples. The nipple and its ring stand out from the chest. The ring gets bigger and darker in color. The nipple, too, may get bigger and change color.
Stage (3) Still Growing
The nipple and its ring grow larger. The breast itself also begins to get bigger.
Stage (4) Nipple and Ring Puff Up
The ring around the nipple "puffs up." The nipple and its ring get darker and start to "stick out" more. They form their own little the mound on the breast. Some girls skip this stage.
Stage (5) Adult
The ring around the nipple isn't puffed up any more. The nipple and its ring no longer stick up as a separate mound. The breasts reach their adult size, of close to it. (Even after you reach this stage, your breasts may grow a bit larger. They may keep growing until you reach your early 20s. They may also get bigger if you have a baby.)
Most girls take three or four years to go from breast buds to adult breasts. But we're not all the same. Some girls only take two years. Others take five years or more.
When you start to develop has nothing to do with how fast you get to Stage 5. Also, when you start has nothing to do with how big your breasts will end up.
Size and Shape
Breasts come in all sizes and shapes. Some are big. Some are small. Some are pointy. Some are more rounded. Some hang low, others sit up high. All are perfectly fine!
Breasts are a big deal in our culture. People pay a lot of attention to them. All the time, we see women with big, full breasts on TV and in the movies. So it may seem like that's how everyone's are supposed to look.
It's no wonder some girls worry about how their breasts look. Some wish they had bigger breasts.
Have you seen magazine ads that promise to make your breasts bigger? Don't believe these ads. These creams and other products don't work. Gadgets to "exercise" the breasts won't make them bigger. There's no way that a cream or "exercise" can make your breasts larger.
Many girls with large breasts are unhappy, too. They get tired of stares and comments. And very large breasts can cause back pain.
Too many girls think there's something not right about their breasts. They couldn't be more wrong. Do you worry about the size or shape of your breasts? Don't! Your breasts, big or small, will look just perfect on you.
When should a girl start wearing a bra? Does she even need to wear a bra at all?
There are no set answers to these questions. You decide for yourself. Some girls wear a bra for comfort. They like the support a bra gives. It keeps their breasts from "jiggling." Some girls play sports. They need a bra to protect their breasts from injury.
Some girls wear a bra because they feel funny without one. They don't like their nipples showing through a thin shirt. Many girls wear tank tops or undershirts instead of bras. Some girls don't like bras and just won't wear one. And that's fine, too.
What about wearing a bra even if you don't really "need" one? Sure, why not? Lots of girls do. There are bras to fit every size, even if you have very small breasts.
What if you want a bra, but are too embarrassed to ask for one? Our advice: Ask anyhow. Your parents may be waiting for you to bring up the topic. They might not be asking because they're afraid they'd embarrass you!
Many girls want help when they buy their first bra. A good friend or an older sister could help. And don't forget mom or even dad.
Bras come in sizes like 28AAA, 30AA 32B, 34C, 36B, 38D. No, these aren't the answers to a math quiz. They really are bra sizes. But what in the world is a size 28AAA, 34B, or 38D? How do you know what size is right for you?
No sweat-we'll help you with it. Just remember this. Bra sizes have two parts: the number part and the letter part. The number part is band size. It tells how big around the bra is when it's fastened. The letter, of letters, is the cup size. It tells how much room the cup has.
AAA is the smallest cup size. Next comes AA. These cup sizes are for girls who are just starting to develop. Girls who are a little more developed take an A of a B cup. Grown women often take a C cup. Those with larger breasts will need a D cup or larger.
The band size is usually a number between 28 and 38 inches. You might want to measure your band size before you go shopping for a bra. It's easy to do. You measure around your ribs just below your breasts. This is your rib size. Now look in the chart to find your band size.
Rib Size Band Size
22-23 inches 28
24-25 inches 30
26-27 inches 32
28-29 inches 34
30-31 inches 36
32-33 inches 38
To get an idea of your cup size, you need to measure again. This time measure across the fullest part of your breast. Compare the result with the your rib size. Are they the same? Then, try an AA cup. Is the result 1 inch more than your rib size? Try an A cup. If it's 2 inches bigger, try a B. If it's 3 inches bigger, try a C cup ... and so on. But don't go by this alone. Always try different sizes before you buy.
Breasts come in all shapes and sizes. Bras do, too. There are many styles and types to choose from. Before you buy, try different bras. Also, try the same bra in different sizes.
One-size-fits-all bras are made of stretchy material. They are very comfortable. They're good for girls who don't need a lot of support but want to wear a bra.
Training bras don't train your breasts to grow. They're just bras with AAA or AA cups for girls with smaller breasts.
Underwire bras have wires sewn in the edges of the cups. They give extra support. They are a good choice if you wear a C or larger cup.
Soft cup bras don't have wires. They don't give as much support as a wire bra. The a good choice for a B cup or smaller.
Padded bras have padding inside the cup. They make your breasts look larger.
Push-up bras have padding, too. They push your breasts together and up. They also make your breasts look larger.
Sports bras look like cut-off tank tops. They keep your breasts from bouncing when you run or play. Some girls love their sports bras. They wear them even when they're not playing sports because they're so comfortable.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Q I am 14 and wear a 34A bra. My sister is younger than I am and already she wears a C cup. I don't want to have small breasts when I'm all grown up. How can I help but feel bad?
A There's still plenty of time for your breasts to grow. But even if they don't, there is no reason to feel bad.
Chances are you feel bad because you think others won't find you attractive. But what's attractive is not the same for everyone.
In the 1920s, the "in" look was super thin, with almost no breasts. Today big breasts are in fashion. Tomorrow? Who knows? Maybe three-breasted women will be "in."
Fashions change. But one thing is always true. Breasts, small or large, are beautiful. So know that your breasts are just right for you. Enjoy being beautiful.
Q Both of my breasts started growing at the same time. But now one is a lot bigger than the other one. Will I grow up all lopsided?
My First Bra
"I remember when I got my first bra. It was really freaky. A boy was in the next aisle. I didn't want him, to see me buying a bra. My mom helped me out. She said, 'Go look at the shoes. I'll get the bra.'"
* * *
"I got my first bra last year. I was living with my dad then. I was sooo embarrassed. Finally I said, 'Dad, I need a bra.' He said, 'I don't know a whole lot about it. But what are they gonna do? Kick us out of the store?' He talked to the lady at the store and just handled it all. He was real cool."
Excerpted from Ready, Set, Grow! by Lynda Madaras Copyright © 2003 by Lynda Madaras. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.