Food Safety and Insulated Covers

Do insulated covers keep your food or formula cold enough?

I can’t speak to any covers but my own. And I can only really speak to the conditions I’ve tested them in.

In my covers, I use high quality fleece made for sport use (coats). Not just the stuff you can buy at the chain store. And it may interest you to know that I do testing with most batches of fleece when they come in. I’m not required to by law, so I’ve never sent them away for third party testing (nor do I know where I’d do that) but I do run them through some testing here.

And I encourage customers to verify for themselves that their setup, regardless of what it is, keeps their food at a safe temperature.

Here’s what I did during my most recent round of testing, which was when I moved a few new fleeces into production.

– Sewed up a few testers with the fleece. In this instance, I was unsure about whether one of the rolls I have would be enough on its own – it’s a new item number I’ve not used in the past – so I made one with just that fleece by itself and one with that fleece paired with a thin but heavy fleece I have onhand.

– Filled the feeding pump bag (500ml) with a home blend that was in the fridge (approx 250 mL), and another with water that was probably fridge cold (about 400 mL), though I didn’t check the start temp and probably should have (it wasn’t in the fridge, but the place I store the water jugs is very cold in the winter). I keep the small fridge at 38 deg F.

– Suspended an analog thermometer inside the feeding pump bag so that it hangs roughly in the very middle. I usually do this with a patent pending (j/k) high tech system I’ve devised made entirely of pipe cleaners.

– Hung the whole thing up on the IV pole with an ice pack.

– Came back 4 hours later and 8 hours later to check the temps.

– Did this 3 days in a row.

Results at 8 hours were unsatisfactory for the new fleece by itself (averaging 40.5, though it averaged a wee bit over 39 at 4 hours) but the average of the two layers was 39 in the home blend and 37 in the water. At 8 hours, the ice packs were still approx. better than half frozen. (Refrigerators should be 40 degrees or lower. The FDA says that food can be left at room temp for 2 hours.)

I left them for additional hours on the last day, intending to check hourly, but… didn’t. The temp was around 41 at 12 hours. By that point, the ice packs were less than half frozen. This holds up well with what I’ve seen in the past – the results depend a LOT on the ice pack that’s used. Once that ice pack starts to go soft/liquidy, the temp of the associated food starts to go up.

That said, in the real world, I don’t have a stationary, full bag all day. The bag empties over time so there’s less volume for the slowly depleting ice pack to keep cold. Then I refill it with new, typically cold food that I’ve had in another cooler.

Things I haven’t tested:

– Using two ice packs. A LOT of my customers use two ice packs (one on each side) if they’re going to be out all day or for overnights.

– Using YOUR ice pack.

– Formula. IDK if it’d be different.

– Pouring in room temperature food. I’m not sure how quickly an ice pack can realistically bring a room temperature food down to refrigerator temperature.

– Very hot temps. We get satisfactory results here and we don’t have a/c, but I change out the ice pack throughout the day. If you’re outside on a hot day, be especially mindful of your food temps.

I’m also not sure how to (or whether to) account for the fact that prepackaged blended foods, formula, and home blends can safely be at room temperature for various lengths of time. (consult the manufacturer of your food or the USDA for guidance on this.) In theory, if I’m using Brand X packaged blended food, it can hang with the ice pack until the ice pack can’t keep it cold any more and then it still has x hours at room temp.

And I cannot emphasize enough that these aren’t refrigerators. I don’t know how many people contact me to ask if you need to use an ice pack. YES. Yes, you need to use an ice pack. Maybe two, depending on your situation. You need to use a sizeable ice pack if you want to use the cover for all day or all night. Nothing about these covers actually generates cold. 🙂

Anyway. Thought I’d share. If you own one and you do testing with a thermometer at your house, I’m interested in your findings!!


Wallypop Insulated Covers with *insert name of popular wooden feeding pump hanger here*

I get frequent questions about whether my Insulated Feeding Pump Bag Covers are compatible with the popular wooden feeding pump hangers sold on Etsy.

And I’ve been saying no, because I tried it and it didn’t work. Because I was trying to put the whole thing inside the cover. Like an idiot. And I was chatting with a customer one day and she was like “um, it works perfectly, you dunderhead, I use mine together literally 24/7.” She did phrase it much more kindly.

OK, so if you just insulate the BAG and don’t stick the WHOLE THING IN THERE, they work perfectly!!

Here’s how:
For a size Medium cover with the 500 mL feeding sets, just load the feeding set into the cover per usual, then snap the hang strap around the hanger, and you’re all set.


For a size Large cover with the 1200 mL feeding sets, you have two options. You CAN do as above for the Medium. But it will tend to pull on your tubing and you risk it getting pinched and dealing with alarms. The bag hangs just a little bit too low.

A better option is to thread the top hang tab of the cover through that round hang hole in the bag, then snap the cover around the neck of the bag and hang the bag from the wooden hanger as you would if it did NOT have an amazingly functional insulated cover over it. Like so:

Using the cover in this way DOES raise the bag inside several inches, so you’ll want to make sure you have a nice, tall ice pack.

A couple of notes for the Large cover:
1. You might find it a challenge to snap BOTH of the top snaps. It’s not a huge deal, because those snaps aren’t really needed to keep the cover on, it’ll still work fine if you can only snap one. If you’re ordering a custom cover and want the snaps spaced wider to make this easier, just let me know when you check out.

2. If you’re ordering a custom cover and you plan to use your cover exclusively with the wooden hanger, you can ask me to make it several inches shorter to get rid of that excess at the bottom. But if I remove that for you, then you will *NOT* be able to use your cover without the wooden holder.


PS, for the record, I contacted the manufacturer of said hanging device to get permission to use their name and was declined. So I hope you’re able to figure out what I’m talking about . 🙂

Seeking Care Elsewhere

Last week, I wrote a post on Teddy’s blog titled “Pushing Back” about how to push back against a doctor who isn’t really holding up their end of a relationship.

This week, I wanted to write over here about leaving doctors who aren’t bringing value to a relationship.

Image shows a female doctor with brown hair holding a note book and looking at the camera. The words read: "You're Fired. Seeking Care Elsewhere."

I communicate with many parents of medically complex children on social media, and over and over again, I see parents in a relationship with a doctor who is at best a waste of time, and at worst actually harming their child. And yet they stay.

The reasons are many, and I understand (most of) them. I do.

It’s hard to leave a doctor you’ve been with for years.
It feels weird to leave one doctor on your child’s team.
It’s easier to see the doctors who are all at your child’s primary hospital.
It’s uncomfortable to fire a doctor.
You’ll still have to see this doctor if they’re on rounds while your child is inpatient.
It’s inconvenient to see another doctor (you might have to drive far or go out of state).

But this is your child’s health and well being. None of these reasons are really good enough to stick with a provider who isn’t actually providing the care that your child needs.

It’s OK to stop seeing a doctor. It’s ok to switch doctors.

You pay these people. You pay them. If your auto mechanic was consistently unable to fix your car, would you find a new mechanic? If your plumber said that they didn’t really know that the problem was, they’ve checked everything they can think of, and there’s no REASON for the water to be leaking – maybe it isn’t REALLY leaking (while looking at the leaking), would you keep giving them your money? What if your taxes came back with errors every year, and your accountant shrugged every time and said that they were only off by a few dollars, what’s the difference?

Are doctors any different?

No. They are not.

It’s OK to switch doctors. Even if that means you see MOST OF the interdisciplinary team at your hospital, except THIS ONE doctor. Even if that means driving further away. Even if that means having to see the old doctor on rounds. It’s only weird if you make it weird.

(I mean, you want weird, try putting one of the nurses in the inpatient unit on your child’s “I never want to see this nurse ever again” list and then getting stuck with her because of a sudden surge in admissions and a shortage of staff to cover them. THAT is weird. She says from experience.)

We have switched doctors I don’t even know how many times. I don’t think we’ve ever actually told the doctor in question – we’ve just canceled future appointments and scheduled with other providers. The first time, I felt a little weird telling his primary team (nephrology) that we were no longer going to see this other specialty at this hospital at all – we were seeking options outside of this hospital system because we did not feel that any of the doctors in that department were bringing anything positive to the table. But it was absolutely no big deal. They just said to be sure to have that office send the clinic notes over so they could stay current and have the new doctor call them with any questions.

It was fine. It’ll probably be fine for you, also.

Gifts for your Kidney donor

It’s not like any gift you can give your (or your loved one’s) donor will come in any way close to the gift they gave you… but still many of us want to acknowledge the huge gift with a small gift. Here are some ideas.

Tree of Life Keyring

metal bracelet with stamped tags

Can also be converted to be a locket (by you). $28

Golden Kidney Locket

A white tumbler with words


Kidney Pendants

A vinyl hand santizer holder with the plague doctor and Wash Your Damn Hands!

Many styles available. $35.

Who Wouldn’t Want A Piece of This Mug

A vinyl hand santizer holder with the plague doctor and Wash Your Damn Hands!

Makes me chuckle. $15

Hottest Kidney Donor

Stamped metal keychain.


Organ Ornaments

Embroidered and knit ornaments to celebrate your transplant. $10

Real Unicorns Tshirt


Transplant Tough Tshirt

metal bracelet with stamped tags

Show everyone that you’re Transplant Tough with this tells-it-like-it-is Tshirt! $19

Beautiful Art Print

metal bracelet with stamped tags


Gifts for Transplant Recipients

There are so many great ideas out there for transplant recipients, it was hard to narrow them down! It seems like heart and kidney transplants get all the love, so I tried to be particularly mindful about including other organs and also cornea, bone marrow, and stem cells.

Stacked Transplant Keychain

metal bracelet with stamped tags

These are really nice looking tags, and the seller has them available for many types of transplants – solid organ, bone marrow, cornea, and stem cell. $25 This shop also has several other organ transplant related engraved and stamped items.

Heart Transplant Lucky Penny

A white tumbler with words

A penny from the year of your transplant, engraved. For heart transplants. $12

Wash Your Damn Hands!

A vinyl hand santizer holder with the plague doctor and Wash Your Damn Hands!

Also available in a non sweary version. Transplant recipients were using hand sanitizer before it was cool. $12

Organ Hand Sanitizer Holders

A vinyl hand santizer holder with the plague doctor and Wash Your Damn Hands!

Yes, hand sanitizers are a part of every transplant recipient’s must-haves. These holders are also personalizable – put a hashtag on the back, or the date of the transplant, or even a name. $12

aaaand I’m Back Heart Transplant Shirt

Stamped metal keychain.

Perfect for the heart transplant recipient in your life. $16

Organ Keychains

Available in a variety of organs, with custom text or plain. Show your transplanted organ some love with this keychain – attaches to keys, obviously, but many people use it as a tag on their backpack or purse, as well. $8

Organ Ornaments

Embroidered and knit ornaments to celebrate your transplant. $10

Recycled Parts Bodysuit

You can also find similar designs for adults. My T-Bear had a shirt very similar to this after his transplant. 🙂 $16

Transplant Tough Tshirt

metal bracelet with stamped tags

Show everyone that you’re Transplant Tough with this tells-it-like-it-is Tshirt! $19

You Can’t Say No To Me

metal bracelet with stamped tags

This one makes me laugh! $20 on Amazon