Teaching my teen daughter self breast exams

Kerri - posted on 01/19/2011 ( 16 moms have responded )

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Recent family events have led me to the thought that I need to make sure my teen daughters know how to preform self breast exams. Both my girls are hands on learners, we used bananas when I showed them how to use a condom. So I am looking for ideas for "prop tata's" so I can show them the proper way to do this. I was thinking balloons, but what would I fill them with so they feel more realistic? Any ideas ladies?

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Charlie - posted on 01/22/2011

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We actually had a fake breast in sex Ed that had lumps in it to feel for .

Tara - posted on 01/19/2011

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I will use my own when I show them how.
They have all seen me nursing and naked a lot so I have no issues there.
You could try a balloon filled with something squishier than water, pudding, jello? I don't know.
Looking forward to seeing some of the answers though!

Krista - posted on 01/19/2011

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Hm, that's a tough one. You know, you might want to ask your doctor or your local public health office. They might actually have a realistic breast model that you can borrow for this exercise.

If that doesn't work, I would mix up some Jello, but use the "Jello Jigglers" recipe, so that it sets up a lot more firmly. (The fact that they're named "Jigglers" just happens to be an unfortunate coincidence, considering for what purpose I'm recommending these things...)

Pour it in a small bowl to set, and while it's setting, submerge a chickpea, a pea, a sunflower seed, and half a grain of rice in different spots throughout it.

Once it's set, I would then wrap it in very thin cloth (so that they can't see the items buried within.) A kids' spandex swim cap would probably work well for this.

So then, you can not only teach them to do the exam, but make it a challenge by having them try to find the "lumps". It also gets across to them how incredibly tiny some breast lumps can be, which is why it's so crucial to do regular exams, so that you know how your breasts normally feel, and can better detect even the smallest anomaly.

If that doesn't work (and it might not, I'm just hauling the idea out of my butt), then you could fill the balloon with what is often used to fill breasts: silicone. Get some silicone caulking at the hardware store, and squirt as much as you need to into the balloon until you've got a good B-cup going on.

And kudos to you, by the way, for being so vigilant in helping your daughters take responsibility for their health. That's awesome.

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Louise - posted on 01/22/2011

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You are all girls I would show them on you wearing a bra. It is a very important lesson to learn. In some of our high schools in England they are shown on live models in the class room. (Boys removed) There are also teen sex and health programes played on main stream channels at prime time that show in graphic details about self examination and signs of sexual infection. I expect your daughters have come across something similar to this at school. Don't be shy ask them point blank if they want to know how to do this and if they would mind mum showing them.

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water? Actually I just let her doctor do it on one of our visits. She is a peds doctor but she still showed my daughter and understood my concerns. Not a big deal and it was handled.

Bonnie - posted on 01/20/2011

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I agree with Julianne. You could use your own breasts to teach them. You don't have to be naked to show them.

Kerri - posted on 01/19/2011

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Thanks for all the great ideas. Showing on myself isn't realisitic not from a privacy/comfort level but more a size level (I'm unreasonably top heavy). I'll try a few different suggestions and see how they work & let ya'll know what they think too.

Nikki - posted on 01/19/2011

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pudding is actually more realistic feeling than jello. Plus you can't see through it so you could do a normal one with just pudding, one with a few peanut m and ms or similar shaped candy to demostrate fibrous lumps, and one with gum drop like candy for fatty lumps.

Just a thought and it would let them feel the difference so they know what they are feeling for.

Mrs. - posted on 01/19/2011

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Oh Tara, I think if my mother flashed me her chest when I was 13 and started examining-that might be a bit over the limit for my pre-teen sensibility. I can tell you, it would take a lot of mental scrubbing to get that image out of there. Don't get me wrong, I change with my mom in change rooms and don't mind her seeing me naked. However, when I was 13.....whelp, most kids aren't all that comfy with parental nudity/their mothers rubbing their breasts in front of them. Just saying.

I think the whole Youtube thing is excellent. If your girls are a bit private, just find the right video, leave them to watch it and ask if they have any questions.

Jodi - posted on 01/19/2011

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Do have a cami-top with a shelf bra (or not, they just seem to usually have a shelf bra in them)??? I think showing them on yourself would be best, that's how my mom taught me. Also, I have a thing that hangs off my shower knob that has the instructions for a self-breast exam in my shower. It's a great reminder for me to do it and I got it free at my gyno's office! It's laminated and water proof. On the other side is a self-testicle exam if you're married! ;)

Best of luck, and if all else fails, their doctor could probably perform a breast exam on your girls while at the same time teaching them how to do it themselves. (My mom just had a masectomy and went through 8 months of chemo for breastcancer, so you can bet your butt I'll be teaching my daughter as soon as she hits puberty!!!)

Kylie - posted on 01/19/2011

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I remember a teacher at school showing us how to do a breast check with her shirt on and i bet there videos on youtube you could watch together.

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I think showing them on yourself is a good idea, you just need the breast, not the naked breast.

Lacye - posted on 01/19/2011

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if you do balloons, fill them with jello. It wouldn't be totally realistic but it would give them the general idea of what to look for and what is normal.

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