Any tubie can tell you tube feeds require a Mary Poppins bag of supplies. From formula to pumps, it’s never as simple as pouring your feeds in the bag and being ready to go. It’s a production just to get tube feeds set up for home, but feeding on the go seems like it is in a league of its own! For awhile, I was afraid to leave the house while I was feeding. I was convinced there was no simple way to run my feeds in public. There are so many things that can go awry. But over the years, I’ve learned helpful tips and tricks to make feeding on the go super easy!
First, you’ll need to make sure you have the right supplies. Besides the obvious of setting up the formula in the feed bag and primed in the pump, here are some items that are essential for tubie life on the go:
The Essential Supplies
Your home health company should supply you with the standard black bag to use. It’s simple, sleek, and designed specifically to keep your bag and pump safe.
But if you want a more personalized or fun option, you can order a customized backpack! These backpacks or purses are converted especially to hold all the necessary equipment for your tube feeds. They come in all different sizes, colors, and patterns.
If you’re looking for a good quality converted backpack, check out Taylor Hart Designs here.
You’ll need something to keep your extra supplies in.
Feeding in public can come with all sorts of issues like your tube clogging or your stoma leaking. Be prepared for these emergency situations by having a special bag handy (bonus if it fits into your feed backpack!) stocked with all the necessary supplies.
Personally, I recommend carrying a syringe, tube extension (if needed), and an extra tubie pad or gauze packet.
Hand sanitizer and tissues are great to throw in the bag as well.
You can use any zipper carry bag you have already or you can pick up one that is made specifically for tubies by a tubie here.
Sometimes the tube and feed line connection isn’t the strongest.
Even when I feed at night time I wear a port connection cover to make sure I’m not “feeding the bed”. This is extra important if you’re out and about!
The port cover wraps around the opening of your tube and the connecting portion of the feed line to make sure they stay together. This will prevent spills from ruining your clothes.
Getting a thinner and fashionable port cover is perfect for on the go.
If you don’t already have a favorite, check out Little Len Creations here.
Lastly, but certainly not least you’ll want to consider tubie clips. These tiny devices are multi purposed and I’d recommend getting two.
One clip can be placed inside your feed backpack to keep your feed line neatly tethered in your bag so no kinks or tangles become an issue. The second clip can be placed on your clothing or on the outside of the backpack to keep your feed line close to your body to avoid getting it pulled or caught on anything.
You can check out fun and fashionable tubie clips here.
Now that you have the right supplies, here are some useful tricks I’ve learned over the years:
3 Tubie Tricks Learned From Pain Experiences
Make sure your pump is fully charged!
If it’s not, make sure to bring along the charger. Nothing is worse than being in the middle of a feed and having your pump die.
Ideally, before you leave the house your pump should be charged all the way so you don’t have to be tied down next to an outlet, but if that’s not possible or you’ll be out longer than the pump’s battery lasts, bring the charger!
Keep a lukewarm water bottle handy in case you need to flush or unhook.
Anywhere you go you can probably find access to water, but a clean and safe way is to insert your syringe straight into the bottle. That way you know the water temperature is okay and the container holding the water isn’t dirty. Don’t wait to flush because you don’t have water available! This is the most certain way to end up with a clogged tube and we all know how miserable that is.
Wear a camisole to keep your tubing tight to your body so it doesn’t move.
I don’t know about you, but there are few things worse than granulation tissue or an irritated stoma. I always make sure to wear a cami to help secure my tube down when I know I’ll be moving a lot.
It also keeps your feeding tube flat so that it’s less noticeable through your clothing (not that you should be ashamed of your life saving tube! I just know some people aren’t comfortable with stares and questions from strangers so this may be helpful if you’re one of those folks).
I hope these tips and tricks for a tubie on the go are useful for you. Let me know which must-have item on the list was the most helpful for you and which tips you tried! Have your own tips and tricks to add? Leave a comment below!