Talking to your team about a blenderized diet

*I am not a doctor. I am not providing medical advice.*

You’ve done some reading, you’ve looked at formula ingredients lists, maybe you’ve talked to others who feed real food through a feeding tube, or maybe you’ve just realized that you’re human (or your tubie is a human) and there’s no medical reason you/they can’t eat food like all the other humans….

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

Now what?

Now it’s time to talk to your medical team. While some who feed real food do so without letting their medical team know, I personally believe it’s always best to keep your providers informed. However, the experiences of those who’ve made the switch to real food are so widely varied. Sometimes their medical providers are entirely on board from the start. Sometimes medical providers need a little convincing, but they’re willing to be tacitly supportive, if not actively supportive. And sometimes they’re just entirely resistant to the idea.

We’ve got your back, whatever happens. Keep reading for suggestions on how to start the conversation with your medical team, as well as some ideas on how to handle the response from your providers – whatever that response is.

My purpose here isn’t to talk you into a blended diet, or to provide you with research or factual information on the benefits of blended diets. I feel like Crunchy Tubie Mama does an excellent job of making the case for blended diets and providing tons of facts and research – I couldn’t even begin to duplicate that. Go check out her website, and consider joining the Blenderized RN group on Facebook.

Before You Even Think About Talking to Your Team

Do the research. Is it safe for you or your tubie to be fed food? Does your or your tubie’s condition have dietary restrictions? Do you know anybody with your or your tubie’s condition who eats orally? Does your hospital/your nutritionist, in fact, have patients with your or your tubie’s condition who eat orally?

How much do you know about nutrition? Do take some time to familiarize yourself with the basics of nutrition – even if you’ve been feeding oral eaters for your whole life. Get a sense of how many calories you need, how much protein/carbs/fat and where you might get those nutritents from, read up on how to ensure you consume a varied enough diet to make sure you’re getting sufficient quantities of the micronutriets, etc.

But while you’re doing all that, also consider that few American humans eat 100% of the RDAs of every nutrient every day. Some days, we oral eaters consume a LOT of Vitamin C, and other days not so much. Some days, we get enough calcium, some days we don’t. A little variety is pretty normal. Is it IDEAL? I don’t know. But I do know it’s TYPICAL.

Starting the Conversation

Don’t ask, tell. You’re not asking for permission. You’re informing your providers that you’ve made a decision and you’re letting them know. But you’re being very polite about it.

“I’ve been reading about using a blended whole foods diet with a feeding tube, and I plan to start doing that.” (If this feels too aggressive for you, you can go with a variation such as “and I’d like to start that,” but be careful not to say anything that at all sounds like you’re asking for their permission. You’re not.

From there, you can ask for their support and help. “Are there any specific dietary guidelines I should follow?”  or “I have a pretty good idea how I’m going to start, but if you have any suggestions, I’d definitely take them into consideration.”  (Notice the tone here – you’re taking what they have to say as advice, but you’re the one in charge. Notice that I didn’t type “Do you have suggestions on how I should start?” Important aside: be sure to have done enough reading by this point that you’re telling the truth when you say that you have a good idea how to get started.)

You’ll probably want to know what your calorie goal is, if you don’t already, and if there are any restrictions or requirements for your diet. (You can research this for yourself ahead of time – the internet is your friend here. How many calories would a typical person of your age, size, and weight goals consume? Do you have a medical condition that might impact this? Does your diagnosis have a Foundation of some sort, and does that Foundation have information on good dietary choices? For example, my kiddo is a kidney transplant recipient, and the National Kidney Foundation is a great source of information about nutrition specific to kidney disease.)

A good question to ask of your medical providers is “what would you recommend for oral eaters?” Remember, you’re going to be feeding the same diet you (or your tubie) would be eating if you (or they) were doing it by mouth – so you can follow the same advice they would give those eating with their mouths.

You could ask how many patients they have feeding a whole foods diet. “How many other patients in this clinic are using a blended diet, that you’re aware of?”

Above all – stay positive and upbeat here. You’re excited. You’re happy. You’re enthusiastic. You’re not going to let any nay-saying discourage you.

Bonus hot tip. Don’t use the word “internet” or, especially, “Facebook,” unless your provider is supportive right out of the gate. These words too often cause providers to assume you got your information from Uncle Bobs Info N Stuff dot com.

Push Back Against the Ignorant Advice and Concerns

On this specific subject, it’s like providers lose their minds sometimes. You might hear “a blended diet sounds great, but we’re too worried about clogs for that to be a viable option.” With a quality blender and the right technique – and sometimes using a strainer – clogs are rarely a problem. Assess this concern for your own situation. If you have a button, for example, and you DO clog it up to the point that it can’t be fixed, it’s a simple matter to swap it out at home. This is not a big deal. (And bear in mind that MOST clogs can be avoided or fixed.)

Another one is “oh, that sounds great, but your feeding tube is just too small for this to work.” Yes, this might be a valid concern, but chances are it isn’t. Most people over the age of 1 have a tube that’s big enough to handle real foods.

Or how about “a blended diet is too risky from a bacteria standpoint – formula is sterile.” Yes, formula is sterile until the jar’s opened, then it’s just like everything else. Are you using sterile feeding tube supplies (the feeding pump sets are not sterile)? Likely not. You’re using CLEAN supplies. If there are people with your diagnosis eating food orally, sterility likely isn’t a legitimate concern. Reassure doctors that you’ve cooked food before, you know basic food safety rules, and you’ll always always use an ice pack if you’re going to have your feed out for longer than an hour. (And then actually do all that, there’s no reason to give yourself food poisoning and then look like an idiot in front of your doctors.) (We’ve got some awesome products to help you out with this – insulated feeding pump bag covers, insulated syringe totes, etc.) If it would help your providers feel better, they can go over food safety with you.

If your Provider is on Board

That’s great! Ask them for resources. Ask them for guidelines on nutrients. They could hook you up with prepackaged blended foods (Nourish or Real Food Blends). They can help.

If your Provider needs Convincing or is Reluctant

You can approach this a few different ways. You can just get started and let them come along for the ride. Or you could try to talk them into being supportive. I personally tend to go path of least resistance on many things, and in this case I personally would just go ahead and let them come along for the ride, but if you want to bring in research, or ingredient lists, or maybe compare the nutrient info of their recommended formula against the USDA’s recommendations… go for it. Note, I’d try to avoid committing to following any specific recipe. A commitment to START with their recipe, fine. But don’t back yourself into a corner on this one. I’ve seen so many hospital-provided blended diet recipes, and it’s difficult to believe they were written by people with college degrees related to food. Don’t lock yourself into using these formula-duplicates.

If your Provider is Completely Against the Idea

This is tricky. I cannot tell you what to do, but you still have options. I decided, for us, to just do it anyway. I told them I was going to start giving real foods, let the subject go, started giving my child bits of baby food, and then let them know a few months down the road how it was going. I 100% knew that food was safe for my child, and I knew the dietary restrictions that went along with his condition. Another option is to find new providers. If you have other providers available – even if you have to drive a bit more – this might be better in the long run. I certainly don’t think any doctor who won’t support me in something like wanting to feed real food instead of chemicals, sugar, and oil is really worth my time or my money. We faced a bit of a battle at first with our providers, but they came around pretty quickly once we got started. We would not still be with them if they hadn’t.

Please note, I do not ever advocate LYING to your providers. About anything.

Does your Provider Have a Valid Point?

Some people truly are not candidates for using real food. FEW people, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility. If your doctor seems to truly believe real food isn’t an option for you, you need to evaluate what they’re telling you. Be sure to get a clear answer about WHY you can’t have real food. If it’s due to your diagnosis, are there others with your diagnosis who eat real food (with their mouths)? What would they recommend if you were oral eating?

This is definitely something that requires a second opinion. Ask other blended diet users (not your doctor) to recommend blended diet friendly doctors in your vicinity, and make an appointment for a second opinion before making any final decisions.

HOPEFULLY at this point, your providers are at least tolerant of your blended diet ways, and you’re well on your way to experiencing the joy of blending up just plain ol’ food for your feeding tube! Enjoy!


Blended Diet Hacks

Have you decided to blend up real food for your feeding tube, or for the tubie in your life, instead of using commercial formulas? This is usually a harder path to take, without a lot of support from medical personnel. Here are some tips your nutritionist or doctor probably didn’t tell you – and probably doesn’t know.

1. Modify the Bag

If you run your blended food through a feeding pump, first, choose an Infinity pump. Infinity works SO MUCH better for blended diets than Kangaroo. Second, if you’re experiencing a lot of alarms and troubles getting the feed through the pump, modify the bag by snipping off the flow limiter.

Look at the cartridge part of your feeding set (the hard plastic part with the blue). One of the blue tubes has a picture of a drop of water on it. Pull that off. Underneath, you’ll see what’s in the picture. See the part I circled? It’s like a little knob? Cut, snip, or break that part off. (I prefer to just bend it back and forth until it breaks off.) Reassemble the cartridge. Voila.

2. Cap your syringes

We wrote a whole blog post about this! Many 60 mL syringes don’t come with caps, which is a shame. But you can use old extensions (clamp them shut near the part that connects to the syringe, cut off the extra) or even the caps from your feeding sets, if you also use a pump.

3. Insulated Tote To Safely Carry Filled Syringes

Wallypop's syringe tote

Formula is much easier to carry around. It’s shelf-stable. But actual food isn’t – particularly not when blended up. Many feeding tube users find they prefer to carry their feeds already drawn up into syringes for feeding on the go, rather than carry a single syringe and a jar or bottle full of food. Refilling syringes can get messy and usually requires more of an interruption to your day, whereas bringing prefilled syringes reduces the hassle factor quite a bit. If you find you prefer toting prefilled syringes, our Syringe Tote is for you. I’m so excited about this newer addition to my line of feeding tube accessories! It’s double-insulated, has two large compartments inside, and one small compartment, and it’ll hold 5-6 60 mL full syringes plus an ice pack and small accessories like a 20 mL syringe, Gtube cushions, a few predrawn liquid medications, etc.

4. Know your extension

shows three types of extensions

Some people feed their blenderized diet directly into the button using a slip tip syringe. Some people prefer to feed through the more typical Y-Port extension. But many tube feeders prefer one of the two single-port (or bolus port) extensions – the right-angle bolus extension or the straight bolus extension. I personally prefer the right angle bolus extension for pump feeding (no med port to pop open) and the straight bolus extension for syringe feeding (requires less pressure, in my opinion). Get a few of each from your DME and see what you like.

5. O Ring syringes

a miracle syringe

Regular rubber-plunger syringes stop working after a VERY short period of time. Many blenderized diet users prefer syringes with an O-ring instead, such as the Miracle Syringe. These syringes are often sold by stores that cater to squirrel rehabbers. O-Ring syringes are also sometimes available through DME suppliers, so be sure to ask before you pay out of pocket. Miracle Syringes are Catheter-tip, but you can also get adapter tips to make them into a slip tip if you prefer to feed directly into the button, without using an extension. If you use EnFit, NeoMed makes O-Ring EnFit syringes that you can get through your DME or online medical supply stores. Why bother with getting an O-Ring syringe? They last forever and glide like an Olympic ice skater. I bought a handful of syringes in 2013. I still use them. They still work like a dream.

6. Oil Syringes

If O Ring Syringes aren’t an option for you, you might notice that the rubber plunger syringes provided by your DME start to stick after a very brief period of time. Putting some oil (olive, coconut, any food oil) on the plunger will help keep it sliding smoothly – some people prefer to dip the entire plunger in oil, while others prefer to just slide a few drops down the inside of the syringe.

7. Don’t open RFB all the way

If you use Real Food Blends, don’t open the packet completely! If you’re filling syringes, just open a corner of the packet, and stick the syringe in. If you’re filling a feeding set (bag), just open a corner of the packet and you’ll have more control over where that food goes – and it’ll be easier to squeeze out every last bit.

8. Get a longer hang time with an insulated bag cover.

So many nutritionists and doctors shoot down the idea of a blended diet solely on the basis that the food can’t hang at room temperature for long. And they’re right – it can’t. But it’s like they’ve never heard of insulation and ice packs. Insulated covers plus an ice pack for your feeding sets allow you to have a longer safe hang time – even all night without having to refill. They also will let you carry a feed all day at a safe temperature without having to refill. These really make tubie life just so much easier.

9. Fill pouches with syringes, Fill Syringes with Pouches

Some blended diet users like using baby food packets (either single use or resuable) to carry their blends. Yes, some makers of empty baby food packets sell fancy, expensive equipment to fill the bags, but you don’t need that. You, you lucky tube feeder, have access to syringes! Use your 60 mL syringes to fill the pouches. And then when it’s time to feed, if you push with a syringe, do the reverse – stick the tip of the syringe in the pouch’s opening and pull back on the plunger while gently squeezing the pouch from the bottom up. Easy, and no mess!

10. You do You: junk food, batch/meal, healthy, regular diet

There are so many ways to tube feed, and so many ways to approach a blended diet. You do what works best for YOU. Don’t worry about what Suzie on Facebook does. If you/your tubie doesn’t have any special dietary needs, and if they’d be eating a typical diet if they didn’t have a tube, there’s no reason you HAVE to do anything special just because they DO have a tube. Even with most dietary restrictions, most oral eaters don’t create spreadsheets to manage their daily intake.

If you want to feed chocolate cake through the feeding tube (and there aren’t any legitimate medical reasons not to), go for it. Regular people eat junk food occasionally, and tubies are just regular people who eat via a different route. Does it make more sense to you to bland up a whole day’s worth of food at once? Or a whole week’s? A whole month’s? Do it (use safe storage methods). Does it make more sense to you to blend per meal, just blending up what you’re cooking for everyone else, or what you’d typically cook for yourself? Do it.

Do you want to have your blended diet be super healthy? Go for it. Do you want to serve just a regular, every day, American diet? Go for that. Do you want to make a huge spreadsheet to track every calorie and every micronutrient? Do it! Do you want to never ever do that? Unless there’s a medical reason you need to, don’t!

*obviously, a certain portion of tube fed people DO have dietary restrictions, ranging from issues with food allergies to needing a renal diet, to being unable to digest most foods. Please use your common sense here.

11. Squeasy Gear

I don’t personally use Squeasy Gear, so I can’t provide any sort of personal recommendation, but many blending families swear by it for easy storage and portability of blended feeds.
graphic showing squeasy gear benefits.

12. Sharpie scrubs off glass

If you store your blends in glass jars, use a sharpie to label them. So many people try to use crayon, or stick on labels, or dry erase marker. Just use a sharpie. It won’t rub off… but when you wash the jar, your kitchen dish scrubby will take it right off.

19 Feeding Tube Hacks to Make Your Life Easier!

Are you new to tubie life and overwhelmed? Maybe you’re a long-time feeding tube user, but looking for some new ideas? These essential feeding tube hacks will make life with a feeding tube just that much easier!

Some are specifically for pump feeding, some are specifically for bolus feeding. And – we’re working on a future list JUST for blenderized diet hacks!!

1. Modify the bag

If you use an Infinity pump, you can turn your feeding set (the bag) into a gravity set with this hack. (A gravity bag allows you to feed using just gravity, no pump.) This modification also allows you to more easily feed a blended or thicker diet through the pump with fewer alarms and clogs. Look at the cartridge part of your feeding set (the hard plastic part with the blue). One of the blue tubes has a picture of a drop of water on it. Pull that off. Underneath, you’ll see what’s in the picture. See the part I circled? It’s like a little knob? Cut, snip, or break that part off. (I prefer to just bend it back and forth until it breaks off.) Reassemble the cartridge. Voila. WARNING: If you’re feeding a liquid, it will now run straight through the tubing with nothing to stop it.

2. Snap front sleepers

If you have a little Tubie, quit buying expensive modified clothing, and quit cutting holes in your baby’s clothes! Just buy some regular, off the shelf, snap-front sleepers or one-piece outfits. They are made by Carter’s, Kushies, Burt’s Bees, and I found a variety of other brands on Zulily and Amazon just now. These can be harder to find in larger sizes, but Carter’s makes snap front bodysuits up to 24M, and they also make little rompers (short sleeves/shorts). Burt’s Bees one piece long sleeve/long pants outfits seem to go to either 18 or 24 months, as well. Much past 2T, it’s hard to find one-piece outfits at all, but overalls allow easy access while still keeping the button or PEG covered.

3. For nighttime, route the tube up the pants leg.

Got a slightly bigger Tubie? Many parents find it’s best to route the feeding tube up the child’s pants leg at night and position the pump either near their middles or near their feet. It not only keeps the tube away from their neck at night, but helps keep things less tangled as they roll around.

4. Make any backpack into a Tubie Backpack

You can use Cord Clips to attach your feeding set (either on its own, or inside an insulated cover) to any backpack. We find we have fewer alarms if we then set the Infinity pump on the side opposite where the tubing goes in and out, and then route the tubing out the backpack where the zipper opening is. No special, expensive backpacks necessary. Use whatever you have onhand, or buy a normal backpack!

5. Get a longer hang time with an insulated bag cover.

Insulated covers for your feeding sets allow you to have a longer safe hang time. Add an ice pack, and most of the time, you can safely hang a feed all night without having to refill – or carry a feed all day at a safe temperature without having to refill. These really make tubie life just so much easier.

6. Prep and label meds and feeds

If you feed bolus via pump, you can prefill the bag (or multiple bags for the day if you have the supplies) and label it with the time the feed is to be given using a Sharpie. We always store our feeds in glass jars (even back when he was on all breastmilk) and label the jar with a Sharpie. Sharpie washes right off glass jars with a scrubbie. (In the case of breastmilk, I labeled with date pumped, volume, and whether it was fresh or defrosted.) If you have liquid meds to be given at different times, check with your pharmacy, but many meds can safely be pre-filled in syringes. Find some containers, label them with either the time the meds are to be given, or with the name of the meds – whatever works best for you.

Some meds may need to be kept in the dark – in this case, cover your cup with a dark container. Some meds need to be kept in the fridge. I didn’t take a picture, but I have a set of labeled cups in the fridge, too. And some meds cannot be pre-filled in syringes. For those meds, I find it works easiest for me to put an empty syringe in the cup, then add a note to the cup, in the form of another label with the medication name. Then at med-time, both the note and the empty syringe remind me to draw up that med, and having the empty syringe right there with the other pre-dosed meds means I don’t have to take the extra step of reaching over to the empty syringes box. Which doesn’t sound like a particular hardship, but I prefer to cut out extra steps whenever possible!

PS, I keep my cups on top of our dorm fridge, which sits on the top shelf of some baker’s shelves in the bedroom. They’re at the top of my reach, and safely out of reach of the kids. Because it’s so high, I a) literally never see the top of that fridge, which is how I never realized it’s kind of dirty  b) toss empty syringes into the “dirty syringe” bin there behind the cups, evidently spattering bits of medications across the wall directly behind the bin, and across the top of the fridge. I guess you might want to avoid this by PLACING your used syringes into your Dirty Syringes bin, instead of throwing them like you’re on the all-star basketball team.

7. Dirty Syringes Bin

If you can at all avoid it, don’t wash (medication) syringes every day. (Wash food syringes every day!!) If you’re new to liquid medications, it might take you a while to build up a large enough stash of syringes to wash weekly. I personally just bought a pack of each size of syringes that we use regularly from a medical supply store (actually it was a vet supply store, but they’re the exact same syringes humans use) so I have a gajillion of them, but you can build up a stash just with what the pharmacy gives you (always ask for extras!) Put your used syringes into a Dirty Syringes Bin, and wash either weekly or when you run out of any particular size of syringe and need more.

Caution: keep a watchful eye the first several times you do this. We have found a few medications that even just that bit left in the tip of the syringe would get really gross sitting around for a week. Syringes with those meds need to be rinsed out same day. Most of the time, though, a good soak in hot soapy water loosens up any sticky meds, and a few good swishes of soapy water and then a good rinse clears out any leftover meds, even if they’ve sat around for a week. I really hate washing syringes, but having a whole bin means I can kind of get into a zone with it.

8. Give syringes a longer life with nail polish

Syringes tend to have one of two problems. Either the rubber tip stops functioning/gets stuck/breaks, or the numbers wear off. Cover those numbers with clear nail polish, and you’ll give your syringes a much longer lifespan – and you’ll dose your medications more safely over time!

9. Tote prefilled syringes with insulated ease

Do you feed Bolus feeds? One way to make that easier when out and about is to prefill your syringes, and then carry them in an insulated case. This avoids having to fill syringes away from home, which can get messy and inconvenient, and it’s faster, too!

10. Getting supplies you didn’t even know existed

When you’re inpatient, if you see the hospital using supplies you don’t get at home but seem super helpful, you can do two things, neither of which involve stealing. First, ask them if you may take whatever it is. If it’s disposable, chances are they’ll say yes. We’ve never had a hospital turn us down when we asked to save something noninfectuous that they were going to throw away. Second, ask for the REF number. Then ask your supply company if you can get some. Using the REF number helps your DME find the right part.

11. Command Hooks

Command hooks are so very very handy if you use feeding sets with your tube. You can stick one almost anywhere you might want to hang a bag. Some people use Command hooks next to the bed, put the feeding set and the pump in a backpack, and hang the backpack from the hook for overnight. Some people – including us – use Command hooks in other places around the house. For example, we almost always do a feed while doing school (we homeschool) so I stuck a hook next to my tubie’s spot at the table. You can hang just the feeding set and place your pump on a nearby flat surface, or you can put the feed plus pump into a backpack and hang the backpack.

12. Carabiners

Carabiners are the other magic way to hang a feed. We use carabiners (or Velcro ties) to hang feeds in the car (from the carseat, from the headrest, from the grab bar above the door), in places where a Command hook won’t fit (backs of chairs), and from the stroller.

13. Prime the Infinity without a pump

One thing about the Infinity pump – it primes SO SLOWLY. Prime faster with a manual prime – before you load the cartridge in the pump, find the blue part with the water drop on it. Push it inward as shown in the picture. Hold the bag up in the air. Voila. Instant priming.

14. Clean your extensions easily

First, if you do continuous feeds, flush the tube regularly. I think the recommendation is to flush with water every 4 hours. This will help with food/formula build-up in the extension. If you bolus, you should already be flushing after feeds.

The easiest way to clean extensions is to fill a container with warm soapy water, attach a syringe to the extension, and pull, push, pull, push a few times, then rinse. I like to follow up with a good, strong squirt of water to the part where the syringe connects.

If that isn’t cutting it, use vinegar, then soapy water, then a rinse. Still not clean? Fill the extension with vinegar and let it sit for a bit.

Many people swear by squeezing the clamp but not quite shutting it all the way and pulling it up and down the length of the extension – it provides enough friction to get those stuck-on bits. You can also get extra long pipe cleaners, but you might find that using the cleaning brushes they sell for hydration backs that backpackers and other use is both easier and faster.

I need to add that the addition of EnFit makes cleaning extensions a bit more challenging. EnFit manufacturers recommend cleaning the moat areas with either a toothbrush or a specially designed EnFit brush, because you need another thing to keep track of. We haven’t switched to EnFit, so I don’t have any direct experience with this.

15. Cap 60 mL syringes with old extensions

Do you use 60 mL syringes for bolus feeds or flushes, but your syringes don’t come with caps? (First, how is this even a thing? Shouldn’t all syringes come with caps. Tubies need to go places, too!) Use old extensions. Just clamp and cut off the extra. Throw some superglue in there if you need to feel extra secure.

16. Use your phone alarms

Having trouble with missing feeds or medication times? Get yourself a dedicated alarm app just for tubie things if you like, or just use whatever app you use for your other alarms. Pick a dedicated alert tone JUST for feeds and meds (or one for feeds and one for meds, which is what I do). Then set an alarm for every medication time and every feed time. And DO NOT clear the alarm until you’ve started the feed or administered the medications.

17. Know your extension

Top – Y-port Right-Angle extension. The top end has a Y-port (one for feeds, one for meds – or if you’re using Enfit extensions, both ports are identical) and the end that connects to the button is a right angle. This is a narrow-gauge tube. This is what most supply companies send you by default, but you do have other options.

Middle – Bolus Feed Right-Angle extension. The top end has a bolus feed opening (or for EnFit, it just has one Enfit port) and the end that connects to the button is a right angle. This is also a narrow-gauge tube. This is my personal favorite for pump feeds. I use the Yport for medications, and then switch to the Bolus right angle for pump feeds. There’s no medication port to pop open.

Bottom – Bolus Feed Straight extension. The top end has a bolus feed opening (or the one EnFit port) and the end that connects to the button is straight. This is a wider-gauge tube. This is my favorite for syringe feeds. It makes pushing SO MUCH EASIER than trying to use the tiny right angle tubes, in my opinion.

18. Keep those connections secure and covered

Med ports can pop open. Curious little fingers can pry them open. Adults with dementia or other neurological concerns can absentmindedly – or purposefully – pull the tubes from the extensions, or pop open the med port. You can tape things together and tape the extra ports closed, depending on your situation. You can also purchase connector covers (they’re available in several styles – I like our own style, obviously, but there IS a variety of styles available – including hard plastic ones) that snap around the connections to keep them padded, safe from fingers, and safe from accidentally bumping open.

19. You don’t have to hang the Infinity bag

Though I’ve given numerous tips for hanging feeding pump bags – you actually don’t have to hang the Infinity bag. After you’ve added your feed, prime out all the extra air (hold the bag upside down and prime the tubing using the pump – this will go faster if you squeeze out as much extra air as you can when you put the cap on the bag), then lay the bag on any available flat surface. Infinity doesn’t need gravity like the Kangaroo bags do, so you can lay them down instead of hanging.





All About…Cord Clips

Our Cord Clips have been one of our best sellers since we introduced them a few years ago. These simple little doo dads are surprisingly handy – and not just for special needs!

First, the highlights.

  • They’re made with fabric. Four layers of fabric, to be specific. This makes them so much more sturdy and longer lasting than clips made from ribbon.
  • They have two sets of snaps, making them far more versatile than clips with just one snap. There are so many different positions you can use these things in! More on that in a minute.
  • The clip is strong but easy to open. Just press up on the lever. The teeth are non-damaging.

Now, the uses:

With feeding tubes and oxygen tubing, to reduce pulling, to manage excess tubing, or to keep tubing positioned.

With ventilator or CPAP circuits.

With dialysis tubes.
OK, I ritually sacrificed all of our dialysis supplies when Teddy got his transplant, so I don’t have any pictures, but the clips can be used to keep the tubing positioned. If you are on dialysis and want a free cord clip in exchange for high quality pictures if you using it… let me know.

To hold 60 mL syringes in place, whether for gravity feeding or for venting.

To hold a feeding pump bag in place, with or without an insulated cover.

To hold charging cords in the car and keep that mess a bit more tidy!

How do you use YOUR cord clips? Share a picture on any social media account (well… Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest) and tag Wallypop (@wallypopia on Insta and Pinterest, @wallypop on Twitter) or share on your blog and pingback to this post. June 30, we’ll put all the tags and pings and whatnot in a hat and draw two to get a free cord clip! (US only unless you want to pay for Priority shipping)

Don’t own a Cord Clip yet? You can buy them here.

How do I keep my feed cool overnight?

How will I keep my formula or blended food at a safe temperature overnight? Do I have to get up to refill the bag every few hours? Is this even something I need to worry about?

These are all questions that many feeding tube users on overnight feeds have asked – you’re definitely not alone in wondering!

Let’s start with the last question first. Is this something you need to worry about? If you’re on overnight feeds and you use formula or anything prepackged (so, anything other than home blended food), check with your provider, your pharmacy, or the packaging of the product itself to see what the recommended hang time is. Many formulas can safely be hung overnight without any refrigeration at all. Some can’t. Some users prefer NOT to, even if they technically can. Home blended food absolutely cannot hang overnight without being kept cool. Breastmilk – whether fresh or refrigerated or defrosted – should also be kept cool overnight.

Will you have to get up to refill your bag every few hours? No!! Though many caregivers do just this – they fill the feeding set with enough breastmilk, formula, or food to last for 2-4 hours, and then they just get up when the pump starts alarming NO FOOD to refill it.

Please please stop doing this. For your own sake. This is a miserable way to live if you don’t have to! And you don’t.

So…. how can I keep my feed cool all night?

Use some sort of insulated container and an ice pack that’s big enough to last all night.

I would recommend our Insulated Feeding Pump Bag Covers + an ice pack. They’re absolutely perfect for this use. They are insulated with a layer of thick, high performance fleece – not cheap fabric store fleece, but good, thick stuff from Malden Mills (a brand of fleece known for its high quality and insulation). The inside fabric is flannel, to help absorb condensation and prevent dripping as the ice pack thaws or in humid weather. At your option, we can add a pocket to hold an ice pack, or you can just toss the ice pack inside without a pocket (which is what I do) – either way, we don’t rely on an elastic strap that will stretch out over time, and the pocket is big enough for nearly any ice pack. On really hot days, I stick in one of those giant picnic size ice packs!

I do recommend monitoring the temperature of your feed the first few nights, or if you experience unusually warm weather without air conditioning. And you will absolutely need to use an ice pack – the insulated covers aren’t actually refrigerators.

But you shouldn’t have to wake up during the night to deal with NO FOOD alarms or worry about food spoilage overnight!!