i wasnt sure myself coz dd is chubby and has always had 'man boobs'. then suddenly i notice the nipples were sticking out more and then the area around the nipples. thats when i was sure. i went from not sure to definitely sure in about 3 months.
Gosh, I hope my DD follows suit too! lol Unfortunately that's not very likely. I started my period when I was 10, in 5th grade. My mom never talked to me about it. She also had a hysterectomy years earlier, so she had no feminine products in the house. I was mortified to have to ask her to go to the store for some. :( It was awful. Oh, and of course I was so much taller than all the other girls, and boys too. And I had boobs. And I was the new girl. All the boys liked me, and all the girls hated me. 5th grade was the worst.
OP, if you don't already have it, The Care and Keeping of You, in the American Girls series is a very nice intro sort of book to puberty, self care, etc. It's very readable for a 4th grader, not overwhelming. My dd still keeps her copy around.
Puberty is a process. With the girls I would say I started noticing a bit before 5th grade started, maybe end of 4th, and by 6th grade most of the girls were clearly starting to mature. Talk w/your dd, be open, plan for how to make sure, when she needs to, that she can care for herself at school. I find most girls, including my own, are amazingly confident and self sufficient.
I bought that book for DD and I'm so glad I did! I wasn't sure how to bring the topic up with her so I just bought her the book, let her read it alone, and then let her ask me questions. After she read it she was convinced she needed a training bra. She brought me the book and pointed out the illustration that describes the various stages of breast development. She was convinced she had breast buds. She doesn't, she's a little on the chubby side so they do like the picture. I wasn't going to argue with her though, so we went to Target and bought some training bras. :)
Sarah, partner to J and mom to DD1 April 30th, 2002 and DD2 May 5th, 2012.