Tula Covers – Give yourself variety without breaking the bank!

You know you’d like to own five or six (or more) Tula baby carriers – there are so many fun prints, and wearing the same carrier every day gets kind of boring, right? But your bank account says “absolutely not!” Right?

Slipcovers to the rescue!

Are you thinking about your Great Aunt Gertrude’s sofa? Our slipcovers are way cooler than that.

Show off your fandom:

Support your favorite team:

Show support for a cause:

Simply add some of your personal style: Β 

Let everyone know how awesome your taste is:
(OK, that’s a Doctor Who print, for those of you who don’t know that.)

Our Tula slipcovers are fully reversible, so you get two looks for the price of one!

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Packing for a Long Hospital Stay

Packing for a hospital stay

So you’ve got an upcoming hospital stay and you’re not sure what to bring? After several dozen hospital stays of varying lengths, most averaging two weeks, during my son’s first three years of life, I’ve got plenty of experience in knowing what is and isn’t useful in a hospital! Even these days, when we’re in a period of relatively few long hospital stays, I keep the suitcase packed and stocked. Partly because, with my son’s medical conditions, you just never know when you’ll suddenly be thrown back into long stays, and partly because most of the things in the suitcase were purchased specifically for the hospital and I truly have no other place to keep them.

My hospital packing is actually two-pronged. I have the suitcase, whose contents rarely vary. And then I also have what I call the “fun bag.” (OK, I only call it that to myself. I don’t think I’ve ever said that out loud.) The “fun bag” is for all the “current” things that we’ll want while we’re at the hospital. My knitting, a book, my notebook, his current favorite toys, our bedtime reading book, technology and chargers, etc. And then he is allowed to pack some number of stuffed animals and toys in his backpack, as well.

Your needs will obviously vary depending on your child’s needs, your individual needs and wishes, your child’s age, and what is available at your hospital.

So here’s what’s in my suitcase, and why.

Inside my Suitcase

For him:

  • Packaged blended food (Real Food Blends), enough to last a week. My husband or someone else can either bring us additional food if we’ll be staying for longer than a week, or they can mail it. Our hospital is reasonably supportive of blended diets (DS gets real food blended up through his feeding tube) but I prefer to bring our home food and let him order from the menu for oral food. I consider asking them to blend up something from their menu as a last resort.
  • Immersion blender. I need to mix the RFB with water to make them thin enough to go through the pump, and I do this with the blender.
  • His feeding pump and feeding sets. At some point, our hospital switched to Kangaroo pumps, and their pumps don’t work well with blended diets. I just bring our own. I also have several extensions in the suitcase, but generally just use hospital provided extensions.
  • Diapers. Teddy’s in a size 7, and our hospital doesn’t stock that size for some bizarre reason. I keep a pack in the suitcase.
  • Clothes. This is a variety of hospital gowns I’ve made him, a set of commercial pajamas, underwear and socks, and a few shirt/sweatpants combos. There’s a hoodie for him, and also a pair of slippers, though he thinks hospital socks are the best things ever. I sewed up a soft fabric basket that holds his clothes in the suitcase to keep them all together and to make them easy to find quickly.
  • Activities. I keep an inflatable ball in the suitcase, as well as some coloring books and markers. (I don’t pack crayons, but that’s because I keep crayons in my every day bag.) A floor cloth – I think this is technically a beach cloth? I found it on clearance at Toys R Us. It folds up small and we use it on the floor so he has a clean place to play.
  • A sippy cup. He’s technically too old for sippy cups, but I find they’re still handy for when he wants to drink but doesn’t feel very well and wants to lay down.
  • Personal care items. I pack special soap and lotion, his toothbrush and toothpaste, and nail clippers.
  • A special pillowcase.
  • Last minute, we put his weighted blanket in the suitcase, as well.

For me:

  • Food. I can’t always leave to get food in the cafeteria, and I don’t always want to order from the parent menu for home delivery. Ordering outside delivery food all the time gets expensive. I started packing shelf stable microwave meals for myself and honestly it’s been awesome. It’s not the BEST food, but when your kid is miserable and you don’t want meal service pizza again, it’s not bad at all. I tend to get noodle dishes, soups, ramen, instant mashed potatoes with canned meat, and those Ready Rice packages also with canned meat. (Not many vegetables here, so when I have the opportunity, I do run down to the cafeteria and stock up on veggies from the salad bar as well as whatever hot veggies they have.)
  • Things to make the food. A two cup Pyrex cup. Some spoons and a knife. A bottle brush, though I think this is leftover from when I used bottles to store pumped breastmilk.
  • Clothes. I keep three sets of clothes in my suitcase, so combined with the one I’m wearing when I arrive, I can go three days between laundry. I pack extra socks because socks get nasty in hospitals. A pair of slippers. Pajamas. My hospital pajamas are yoga pants and a shirt – so they’re not obviously PJs. I feel ridiculous talking to doctors half my age when I’m wearing my jimjams, so I prefer to look like I’m actually wearing clothes regardless of what time it is. A hoodie. A spare belt. I usually wear skirts, but we had a hospital stay once where it was so cold in our room that I mostly wore a pair of jeans I had packed, but I had no belt and spent two weeks pulling up my darn pants. NEVER AGAIN. Like with his clothes, I keep mine in a soft fabric basket inside the suitcase.
  • Personal care items. All the usual things. Deodorant, brush, toothbrush and paste, hair ties. I cover my hair, so I have a few casual covers in there. Some OTC meds like allergy and advil. Travel size shampoo and conditioner. Good lotion. Scissors. (I don’t shave, so I don’t pack a razor, but obviously you’d want that if you do.) Pads, enough for a whole cycle.
  • Miscellaneous things that make me happy. Tea packets. A hot chocolate or cider packet or two. Gum because I grind my teeth when stressed and this somewhat mitigates that. An insulated, lidded mug.
  • Envelopes and stamps. I don’t use these as much any more, but when my other kids were younger, they enjoyed getting mail from me from the hospital.
  • Notebook and pen. I take notes during rounds. Some moms keep a journal.
  • Humidifier. I found a small portable humidifier at Target one year. It holds a water bottle. Hospital air is so very very dry. This is one of my favorite hospital bag things.
  • An internet television device. I call mine my Fauxku because it’s like an off brand Roku. I can hook it up to the hospital TV and get Netflix, so we’re not limited to the movies the hospital provides on the entertainment system, if they have one. Our hospital does NOW but hasn’t always.
  • Spare cords. I have a handful of phone, kindle, and ipad cords, and an extra cord for my laptop. Because I can always remember my laptop but for some reason, I can’t always remember the cord.
  • Two empty tote bags. Because you just never know.

Inside my Suitcase

10 Amazing Products for Feeding Tubes

New to Feeding Tube life? One thing the doctors never tell you is how many products are out there to make your life easier. Here are ten amazing products made just for tubies – often made by other tubies or parents of tubies.

A Good Backpack
A good backpack. You can usually get a backpack for your feeding pump from your DME supplier, but if you want something cuter, there are many options available online. The one pictured here is from retrofied on Etsy.


Insulated Cover for the Feeding Set. Yes, this is one of my products, but I have to say, it’s genius. After waking up in the middle of the night to refill Teddy’s feeding pump bag for several months, I decided there must be a better option. Four prototypes later…. voila. Holds an ice pack and keeps the feed cold all night or all day. aaaahhhhh….sleep.


Connector Cover (one of my products). The Connector Cover is genius – it covers up the connection between the feeding set and the extension to keep all those ports closed and fastened together. Help stop bedtime leaks! Also fantastic for stopping those curious little fingers from pulling apart the connection.

AMT Clamp
An alternative to the fabric options available, this clamp made by AMT also aims to hold the delivery set to the extension.


Cord Keeper (another one of my awesome products). The Cord Keeper covers up and helps manage the tubing associated with feeding tubes. Some families find that these help reduce nighttime tangles. Some tubies prefer to keep their tubes covered up. And some tubies have several tubes to keep from tangling. Cord Keepers help with all of that!


Button Cushions, Gtube Pads. These go by a lot of names, and there are a LOT of options out there online. These pads cushion the skin underneath the Gtube, they can help reduce granulation tissue, and they absorb any leaking from the stoma. Plus, they’re cute. πŸ™‚


Caribiners. We use caribiners to clip the feeding pump backpack to my backpack, to hang the delivery sets from anything handy, to clip the insulated bag that holds his pre-drawn bolus syringes to my backpack.


Cord Clip. (One of my own products) These handy clips help manage medical cords. We’ve used ours to hold excess tubing between feeds, as well as to manage cords in bed. They can be used to hold syringes for gravity feeding, and have countless other uses as well.


Squeazy Gear. We haven’t used these soft bottles ourselves, but I’ve heard such rave reviews from other tubies and tubie parents. Particularly suited for those following a blenderized diet, these bottles hold your feed and connect to your tube. Easy Squeazy.


Waterproof bed pads. If you can get the ones from the hospital, go for it. If you can’t, these are a nice alternative. Absorbent and waterproof, these protect your mattress from overnight leaking – whether that leaking comes from overfull diapers or from inadvertent tube disconnections or from vomiting. Save your mattress!


Velcro Straps. Oh, so many uses. I still carry five of these in my “tube emergency” kit in my backpack.

And an Exra Bonus:

Syringe Holster. Many tubies have several meds they take through their tubes. Sure, you can carry those syringes in a ziplock bag, but the Syringe Holster keeps them organized and protected.

Family Movie Night: Brother Bear

I will admit, Brother Bear is NOT my favorite Disney movie. By a long shot. But I was planning out movie nights at Gymnastics one day, and I had to go by memory of what movies we own. So… Brother Bear it was.

On the menu:

Genna’s been playing with the neighbor boy most afternoons, so we didn’t make a craft today. πŸ™‚

In exciting news, Teddy has started eating chicken nuggets. It’s his first/only meat so far. So he got chicken for dinner. πŸ™‚

Yeah, Genna was expected to eat one bite of broccoli. This single bite of broccoli was preceded by 30 minutes of crying.

The mousse wasn’t very smooth. I’m not sure why. Probably because I’m not skilled.

Family Movie Night: A Bug’s Life

A Bug’s Life is an underappreciated Disney movie. Wally went through a period where he REALLY loved this movie when he was a preschooler, but we haven’t watched it since then.

 


On the menu:
– Grasshopper Juice (lime sherbet + 7up)
– Nuts and Seeds
– Caterpillars (grapes speared with toothpicks)
– Ants on a Log (raisins and peanut butter on celery)
– Fried Beetles (we ended up with popcorn chicken)
– Flik’s Grains (corn)
-Bug Cookies for dessert (which we didn’t make because it was 18 million degrees that day and I couldn’t turn on the oven)