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StaceyinLA

Longest road trip you've taken with a tiny baby??

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My dd and her bf are getting relocated (Navy). We will leave WA state mid-June with a, likely, less than 4 week old baby and 2 boston terriers. Her boyfriend won't leave until early-mid July, but their lease is up and they'll be in an awkward position to try and rent or anything since it'll only be a few weeks. The plan was for her and me to fly back with the baby and dogs, but the navy now won't move the vehicle, so we might have no choice, but to make that road trip.

 

What's the youngest infant you've taken on a long road trip? What are your suggestions for making it comfortable for the baby, as I know they can get really sore from being in the car seat for long periods. I mean obviously we will be stopping a LOT more and will probably make a 5 day trip of it, so we have no more than 8 hours/day in the car, but this is new territory for me.

 

And yes, I have considered driving it myself with the dogs and letting her fly with the baby, and that is possible, but she (and I'm sure my husband) won't really want me to make that drive alone. Also, one upside is not having to have the baby on an airplane closed in with all those germs when he's so tiny, but I'm not sure if that compensates for all the downsides. :(

 

I'd appreciate any input.

 

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I would much rather fly if I were her. 

 

I mean it depends on the baby.  If this one is cool with car rides it could be fine.  I have had a few babies who hated the car and cried the whole time.  Flying was easier because I could hold them and nurse on demand. 

 

Plus I liked just having one hard day vs lots of them.

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I took my 8 week old on a 6 hour flight long ago...it was nerve-racking to feed and keep him quiet on that flight.  

 

Babies sleep a lot, so super young you could probably drive quite a bit in a day.  

 

If anything it's the dogs you will need to stop for.  The baby is going to be held or sleeping if they weren't in the car...so it's not like a toddler who needs a stop every few hours to run around.  Just plan the trip around the dog stops and I truly think the baby will be fine.   Some of our best traveling was when we had a super young baby...simply b/c they slept!

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When my second oldest son was 2 weeks old, we had to travel for the military. It was only a 3 hour drive but it ended up being about a 5 hour trip stopping every 45 - 60 minutes for diaper changes, feedings and all the other baby care things that needed doing.

 

We had to make many trips over the years in the military with infants in tow. The longest trip with a baby in tow was flying from Japan to the east coast of the US with two layovers of only a couple hours each (so no spending the night in a hotel). It wasn't the highlight of our overseas tour by any means but we all survived.

 

If you and your daughter can tolerate stopping every hour to hour and a half or so to take care of baby needs, you will probably be fine. It will be a longer trip than if it were just you and your daughter but not unmanageable in my opinion simply because at that age, they sleep a lot anyways. 

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I took my 8 week old on a 6 hour flight long ago...it was nerve-racking to feed and keep him quiet on that flight.  

 

Babies sleep a lot, so super young you could probably drive quite a bit in a day.  

 

If anything it's the dogs you will need to stop for.  The baby is going to be held or sleeping if they weren't in the car...so it's not like a toddler who needs a stop every few hours to run around.  Just plan the trip around the dog stops and I truly think the baby will be fine.   Some of our best traveling was when we had a super young baby...simply b/c they slept!

 

depends on the baby out of 5 i have only had one that slept in the car.  

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DH and I drove Colorado to Florida and back with a two year old and a 3 month old and two huge dogs.  It was just fine.   We stopped every hour or so to let everyone out.   We stopped for the day about 4pm and I took the dogs and the kids out to walk while DH napped in the hotel room.  We would leave the hotel about 3am so the toddler slept for many hours.

 

When the baby cried, we stopped and I changed or fed her.  The key was to not being in a hurry because a 15 minute stop meant an hour or more of driving happily.

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When mine were babies, we mostly flew but I did do a cross country road trip from WA to AR, solo, when my kids were 3 and 6. Honestly, I think that was harder b/c we had to stop for potty breaks more often. When they were babies, I could sit in the back while DH drove, pull over and change a diaper pretty easily and the babies really do sleep most of the time.

 

My advice, plan on no more than 8hrs on the road a day. You may be tempted to do more. Don’t. This allows for leisurely lunches, dinners, and plenty of rest for the drivers. Also plan tfor make some scenic stops, a native road stand or kitschy museum. Make the trip memorable as something more than a chore.

Edited by Sneezyone
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How much would it cost to pay to move the car? Flying would definitely be better. I would recalculate the trip based on no more than 6 hours driving a day for comparison to flying/moving the car. Does it make sense to sell the car?

 

It depends so much on the kid. They may be fine or they may cry non-stop in their carseat. No amount of money would be worth the second situation to me. I think I would plan to fly and compare to see whether it makes more sense to pay to move the car or sell/replace it.

 

ETA: I once took a 9 hour trip with my 9 month old. She cried non-stop from hour 7 to hour 9 no matter what we tried. That's less likely with a newborn, but it was absolutely awful.

Edited by abacus2
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We took DD on a 600 mile road trip to grandparents (and then 600 mile return) when she was 3 weeks old and then on an international flight when she was less than 2 months old.  She was much happier moving and slept much better in the car than she did in her crib at home. 

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We've always made (2) 18 hour car trips a year, and when they were little (1) 10 hour car trip.  It was fine and they're great road-trippers.  

I wouldn't stress too much.  It'll be fine.

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Well I left Juneau when my first was five weeks old. That was a whole day on the ferry, then driving up the Alcan (two days of driving).

 

So yeah. A long way. We did fine, just made sure to stop and nurse every three hours or so. I much prefer to drive than fly. Then I’m not stressing about germs and disturbing other people, and can go at my own pace with as many breaks as I want.

Edited by Arctic Mama

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I would tell BF to take leave and a buddy and drive the car, while your DD flies with the baby. 

 

Or sell the car and buy something else when they get there.

Edited by Ravin
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We’ve done cross country moves and trips with babies while in the military as well. It was all good. I would much rather drive then fly.

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We did 16 hours over 2 days.  I think it's doable.  My daughter HATED the car seat until she was 2 or 3 weeks old, but was fine with it after that.  She was a little early too so I think she may have just preferred to be in utero a little longer. 

 

Just keep the schedule and timing really flexible.  Allow an extra couple days if at all possible.  Maybe find some interesting stops along the way.   Consider it an adventure. 

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A couple more things;

 

They have two vehicles and he is already taking one across country, likely with a U-Haul.

 

Selling the car really isn't an option as it isn't very old, and likely can't be sold for what is owed on it (plus dd really likes the car anyway).

 

From a cost perspective, we have to consider the tickets for 2 adults AND 2 dogs (IF we can get them on the flight with us), in addition to the cost of multiple checked bags (she's gonna be staying with us a month before finally getting settled in her new place, so she's gonna really need more stuff than we can even bring if we fly).

 

With driving we can take more stuff, stop when needed, bring dogs in car instead of having to worry about getting them on a flight with us, and hotels/gas will probably cost about as much as the tickets.

 

We would likely plan to do 5, 8-hr days, so we could stop a lot, and do no driving at night.

 

We took the trip with the dogs in August, and we never had to stop for them more than every 4-5 hours, so I think we'll be stopping a lot more for the baby than the dog.

 

The main thing I'm worried about is his little body getting tired of the seat; that's why I'd want a lot of stops where we could get him out of there to stretch.

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I've taken an 8 week old along with a 19 month old on car trips as long as 24 hours of drive time. We did it over two days.

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The great news about tiny babies is that they sleep a lot.  She'll be stopping every couple of hours to nurse/feed the baby anyway, so use that time to give a gentle massage and stretch your legs. 

 

We make long trips regularly.

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We did WA state to WA DC when one of mine was 8 weeks old.  I thought it was going to be a nightmare, but it was so easy.  They sleep and eat.  We stopped every two to three hours to nurse. IME, there was no soreness from the car seat, but you do want to stretch them out every couple of hours.  I just held him and let is legs hand down to stretch his little spine and laid him flat and did some bicycles with his legs and did tummy time.

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Also, we do x-country with the Navy every couple of years, and my mom flies out and does the road trip with us because of exactly the reason you stated, we have to drive both cars. And I look forward to it now every time.

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We moved/drove Puget Sound, WA to Austin, TX when DS was 13 month old.  I sat in the back with him and entertained him and we took frequent breaks.  IF he was sleeping, we didn't stop (Which meant we didn't stop once in New Mexico. Because we wanted to get down the road until he woke up)  OFTEN we'd find a place to stop as soon as he woke up. Let him run around (A difference between 13 months and newborn, I know) and then he'd be happy in the car for a time longer while we continued to make tracks down the road.

 

We left in the evening and ended up staying the first night in Vancouver (much farther South than we'd really wanted to go buy Olympia was booked up hotel-wise). The second night we landed with relatives in California. SPent a day there then moved on, another night in California, then a trip west to Tucson, AZ (where we have family). Spent some time there then one longer day to Austin.

 

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I took a 2 month old baby on a 12 hour road trip. We did 12 hours up, 12 hours back, so 2 days of travel in 4 days. She was a very easy baby, and it was fine. We were also traveling with a 2, 4, and a 6. The 6 year old was the hardest, but he always has been.

 

That then 6 year old would not have been able to handle that trip. He screamed in the car for months and months. At least 13-14. He was a su per bad traveler.

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I've drove & flown with infants.  There's pros & cons to both.  If the car is fairly new & has working air-conditioning I would drive.  Just plan to depart for the day's driving just after the first feed of the day.  Plan to stop at least every 2 hours to feed / change the baby.  Don't aim for longer than 8 hours driving each day.  

 

I've never traveled with animals, so no advice there.  But how are the dogs around infants?  How big is the car?  Will there be a barrier between the dogs & the baby?  Can you find places to stay that allow pets?

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I would plan to stop so she can nurse and change baby every 2 hours, unless she wants baby to get set on a reverse cycle feeding schedule (nursing more at night, eating more during day), or she can manage to nurse while going down road with baby strapped in carseat and her loosely buckled (a gymnastic feat best preserved for extraordinary circumstances and which not every body can manage).

 

That said, 8 hour days do sound reasonable.

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900 miles with a four week old.   we did it in two days - but dh and mil drove.   I don't recommend it.   especially that distance.

 

is it possible to fly her and the baby, and have someone else help drive the car and dogs?

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Car is a year old and in great working order, so no real concerns there.

 

Dogs have never really been around a tiny baby (this is her first), but are used to kids and have been fine. They’ll be crated in the car, and taken out on harnesses/leashes when we stop.

 

Definitely planning for nursing/changing stops every couple hours at most. I doubt she’ll have perfected the “hang over the car seat†acrobatics required to nurse a baby in the car, and the baby will still be pretty tiny for that himself I’m sure.

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About 1000 miles when DS1 was 2 months old. Lots and lots of stops. I tried my best to time our stops so that our gas tank was full and adults fed/bathroomed so that if baby fell asleep, we would not have to stop again until he woke up (I still do this when he travel. We had up frequently so that if we get lucky and they sleep, we can just drive and drive). He was my happiest baby, and he still spent the last two hours of that trip crying.

I learned a lot from that experience. With later babies (who were less happy in the car) we stopped even more frequently. We also learned to do the longest day the first day, then cut drive time every subsequent day, as car tolerance appears to drop precipitously on days two and three.

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Round the world.  I think Hobbes was six weeks old.  We did something like Hong Kong-Dallas-San Francisco-London-Hong Kong.  Not a road trip but lots of long flights.

 

It was really easy.  He slept a lot and I breastfed him.

Edited by Laura Corin

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My longest trip with a newborn was somewhere in the 14 hour range (including all of our stops.)  Dd was about 6 weeks old.  I spent our entire vacation dreading the drive home!!!

We split the return trip into 2 days.  Same misery, just spread across 2 days.

 

To be fair, we were also traveling with a 1yo and a 5yo, which obviously added to the difficulties, but it was mostly dd, herself.  She was a VERY cranky/colicky/refluxy/uncomfortable baby to begin with. Going long stretches isolated in an uncomfortable seat didn't exactly help!

 

To me, the individual baby is the biggest wild card.  My older two probably would have been easier.  I'm positive my #4 would have been perfectly fine.  My #5 was an even fussier baby than #3, and would scream through every 90 minute drive we took. (Which was many, to see his specialist.)  Notice that I never tested those theories, lol.

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We must have driven twelve hours when my oldest was six weeks old, because we visited my parents in New Mexico for Christmas from San Antonio.  To be honest, though, I don't remember it, which probably means it was pretty uneventful.  Traveling with new babies is pretty darn easy, though. 

 

However, I vividly remember the four hour drive from Houston back to San Antonio when my kids were barely two and six months.  They both cried the entire time; the two year old screamed for milk while I repeated that we didn't have any, until I realized that I had a bottle and full breasts, so I hand expressed milk into a bottle clutched between my thighs while we barreled down the interstate at eighty miles an hour as milk flew all over the windshield and dashboard.  It looked like we had survived a hit and run with Casper the friendly ghost.  We were still cleaning breast milk out of the vents as recently as last year.  After that trip, I vowed we were never traveling out of town again ever, and we really didn't for several years.  And even then, we bought portable dvd players. 

Edited by Terabith

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Fifteen years ago I drove 1500 miles in a minivan following the moving truck with a 6 week old baby.  Pumped and bottle fed while driving.

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2260 miles, Seattle to Anchorage, AK when my daughter was 2 weeks old. I can't say it's a great idea since babies can't tell you something is wrong. My baby was strong and healthy (nearing 9 lbs birth weight). If the baby is in anyway medically frail it would be a big no no. You are supposed to see if they are stressed in their car seat just before a short ride home from the hospital. I took my daughter out whenever she woke to nurse and move her around which made the trip so much longer because of the stopping all the time but it is important. They are used to being squashed up in utero I guess but still they can't tell you if somethings wrong.

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I'd price out shipping the car and extra luggage she needs. Then have her, baby, and dog fly. She can keep him in a Moby Wrap a good chunk of the time and use a nursing cover. I worried less about germs when they were super tiny because I just kept them close to my chest and covered. Nobody was getting in our space. :)

 

Ds was 3 weeks old when we did a long road trip and it was awful. We stopped every hour but every time I had to put him back in the carseat, his reaction just got worse and worse. Which, his screaming increased my milk production so I was in terrible pain.

 

The other thing you can't plan for is weather. We ended up stopping twice in an hour because of storms. The 2nd time, we took shelter in the back of a Culver's to wait out a tornado! Talk about stressful with a 3 week old! :scared:

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Military move: drove a 10 day old baby from VA to extreme west Texas. Nursed,pumped milk, and changed diapers on the side of the road. Horrible.

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Moved from Tacoma, wa to Savannah,Ga with a six week old. I think it depends on the baby. When he was born he was too small for the convertible car seat we had so we had to use the infant bucket. He Hated hated hated the bucket barely could make it to the grocery store around the corner with the way he screaming. I was so happy that when the road trip happen he fit the convertible car seat and didn't scream about it. We did the trip in four days. It was uneventful.

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Planning for a long road trip just a short time after an up-coming birth, I would strongly suggest having a "Plan B" for if the birth doesn't go as expected.  We all have given suggestions above on how the baby may react to the trip, but more important is how the "mama" is doing.  I know I could not have taken a long road trip that soon after the birth of any of my dc.  All of my babies were great babies that nursed & slept well, but I took at least 6 weeks to recover from unexpected c-section births,  2 of which followed long, unprogressive, HARD, labor.  With dd, my first baby, we traveled back to the Pacific Islands from VT when she was 10 weeks old.  This trip took one short flight & three 6 hour flights.  We stopped in San Francisco & Honolulu for a couple of days each, which really helped break up the journey for me.  And I had dh along to help.  

 

 

Edited by Deb in NZ
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Well, both of my children would've handled that drive differently. I also would plan to drive very early or really late (but not middle of the night) since day stops can take SO long--other people on the road stop for lunch too.

 

Some tips I would suggest:

  • Have a few easy outfits that can be changed mid-day if baby gets sweaty since you are worried about skin issues and irritation. Definitely plan on a few light layers.
  • Get some kind of waterproof pads for all kinds of leaks and blowouts and put them under baby on top of the regular carseat cover. 
  • One adult in the back at all times to sooth or play with baby. Many times, our older just needed a hand on his head or chest to get him back to sleep.
  • Easy car food for the adults so that your stops can be flexible--baby is happy, sleeping, fed, changed? Then you can keep driving right by that crowded stop at noon because you have a snack, and you can stop when it makes sense and is less busy.
  • Soothing music or other white noise for baby. 
  • If the baby will take a bottle, get a hand pump or have mom hand-express while on the road. It also gives some flexibility for timing stops.

Our longest trip was a 9 hour trip where traffic had to be routed off an expressway (for hours) into no man's land--teeny, tiny towns unequipped to handle the masses. The infant in question was about 9 weeks old. We were using formula. It went quite well, surprisingly, but I would have lots of contingency plans for various aspects. 

We did many, many day long trips with infants but nothing much longer. It usually went better if we got up super early or drove late into the evening. Between the huge break in traffic and the better sleep for baby, it saved us a lot of time. 

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I would plan to stop so she can nurse and change baby every 2 hours, unless she wants baby to get set on a reverse cycle feeding schedule (nursing more at night, eating more during day), or she can manage to nurse while going down road with baby strapped in carseat and her loosely buckled (a gymnastic feat best preserved for extraordinary circumstances and which not every body can manage).

 

That said, 8 hour days do sound reasonable.

Hey just a heads up in case you didn’t know, but this is basically as dangerous as taking the baby out of the car seat. Your weight and positioning would compromise the car seat in the event of a crash

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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depends on the baby out of 5 i have only had one that slept in the car.

Mine at a few weeks old would not sleep in the car-they screamed. 8 hours a day of screaming? Not worth the risk. I'd sell the darned car before I'd do that drive with a newborn. Dead serious.

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Also what if baby needs to cluster feed? What if baby has colic and needs to be rocked and held for hookup? What if mom is recovering from an episiotomy or tear and can't sit on a firm car seat that long. Plus car seat belts have given me clogged ducts more than once on much shorter trips.

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I think my oldest was 1 week old. Yes, it was a military move from CA to OH. Yes, it was an adventure but actually easier once we actually started travelling. I think I was 4 or 5 days postpartum when the movers came and started trying to disassemble plumbing fixtures in an apartment. That caused me to overdo it and faint. But the trip was fine. We did have to get Pedialyte in a very small town in Utah. We visited a pediatrician on the road for some mandatory test at 2 weeks and maybe a shot. But no housework, eating in restaurants, etc was easier.

 

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

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Not road trips but I've flow to Australia from Maryland with a 3 month old . That trip is over 20 hours of air time/ about 30 hours with layovers.  I've also done the same round trip with a 10 week old. 

 

Lots of car trips with infants over the years. 

 

Move as far as you can while they sleep. Stop for nursing and diaper change when they wake rather then when your normal schedule says it's time.   Have snacks available in the car for everyone else so you can go long stretches without stopping to take advantage of that sleep time! 

 

Have Mama sleep with a small blanket or burp cloth tucked under her shirt for a few nights before travel.  Tuck it in around baby or give it to him/her to snuggle to keep Mama's scent close.

 

 

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Good luck and hope the delivery, baby and trip all goes well. It's not something I'd wish on anyone, but there are probably worse things that people have to do. 

 

Hopefully your dd won't be recovering from a c-section.

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I took an 8 week old baby on an 18 hour trip (12 hrs in the air with a layover between flights and a 2 hr road trip when we landed) and a 3 week old baby on an 18 hour trip (in one day by car, normally would have taken 12 hrs).  The biggest issue with driving was having to stop to feed her every two hours.  Each stop was about an hour by the time she was fed, changed, burped, changed again, etc.

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Stacey--what about her relocating earlier to be with you?  Is that even in the realm of possibility?  

 

Good point...maybe moving to be with you and have baby in your city would be better than moving cross country a few weeks post partum. 

 

I mean, several people ahve talked about moving with 2-3 months old but in my experience that's a different ball game than those first 2-3 weeks when baby i learning how to nurse, mom (first time mom!) is healing and learning how to nurse, etc. I mean, that can take a while! Those first few weeks many moms are not comfortable nursing in public, and she'd be in public, trying to nurse a newborn on a bench or in a car, etc. 

 

Plus again there is colic.....my babies needed to nurse almost constantly those early weeks too. 

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Also what if baby needs to cluster feed? What if baby has colic and needs to be rocked and held for hookup? What if mom is recovering from an episiotomy or tear and can't sit on a firm car seat that long. Plus car seat belts have given me clogged ducts more than once on much shorter trips.

 

 

This is a big point that I don't know if anyone brought up.  But I tore so bad after my 2nd that I couldn't sit for 2 plus weeks afterward.  The pain was insane even though I was on painkillers. 

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