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Insulin Pump Accessories
We didn’t really think much about insulin pump wearing before that life-altering, pump-containing box arrived on our doorstep over three years ago. After all, what really matters is program settings and infusion sets, right?
Yes. And no.
There is also this not-so-small matter of where to put this medical device that a 3-year-old or 13-year-old, or 73-year-old must carry on their body 24-7.
We started by simply putting the insulin pump in his pocket. Convenient, inexpensive, and no prep work required. But the pump was pretty bulky on a little body and sometimes it got in the way when he was sitting down or playing on the floor. And the tubing snaked out of his pants pocket, over his waistband and into his underwear to meet up with the infusion site on his bum, sometimes poking out enough to get snagged on a hand or object. And we wondered: What if it fell out when he was doing a somersault? And what if we wanted to use a site on his arm? Tubing snaking from his pants pocket through his shirt to his arm seemed unwieldy. We needed to look for other options.
For options beyond pockets, we started looking into pump pouches (pump packs, pump belts, pump bands, pump pockets… you get the idea) and found an amazing variety of pump-wearing accessories…
Pump Wearing Options
We have found an amazing variety of pump-wearing accessories, some available close to home, some available farther away but still within Canada; some clear winners we have had to order from outside Canada. There are enough variations to satisfy any budget, to match any function, and to fit a range of preferences – and as the population of pump wearers grows, so does the supply of insulin pump accessories.
Options for Pump-Wearing Accessories
Arm, Calf, and Thigh Bands: a one-piece stretchy tube made of Lycra or similar fabric that you slip onto your arm, calf, or thigh; then you tuck the insulin pump between your skin and the band, holding the pump in place.
We have never tried this type of insulin pump accessory, but if you have ever worn a similar device to hold an mp3 player on an arm during a run, you have some idea of how it would work.
Waist Belts and Pouches: There are hard-cases for protection against knocks and bumps, or soft-sided pouches most often made from stretchy Lycra or comfy cotton. Some have a loop on the back to feed a belt through; some have integrated belts. Some belts are stretchy elastic; some belts are woven and do not stretch at all. Some have expandable pouches that grow as you fill them with an insulin pump, blood glucose monitor, low treatment, even cell phone; other pump pouches are a fixed shape and size, to snugly contain an insulin pump.
Clips and Clip-On Cases: like a cell phone clip, some fit right on the back of the insulin pump to clip it right onto a belt or pants’ waistband; others dangle from a clip your child attaches to a belt loop, buttonhole, zipper pull or something similar.
Bra Pockets and Bands: These pump-sized fabric pockets (made of soft velour, satin, or cotton) attach to the side-band, or clip to the centre portion, of a regular bra using Velcro or plastic snaps. There are also bras available that are made especially for pump-wearing; they come fitted with the pump pocket sewn into the strap. Many teens and adult women we’ve spoken to love the discreteness of a bra pouch, and the fact that they don’t have a bulge at their thigh or waist like they do with other pump pouches.
Over-the-Shoulder Harnesses: a small case with a long strap your child slips over one shoulder like a messenger bag.
Pump Harness: Available through Medtronic, the straps of this insulin pump pouch run over your child’s shoulders and/or torso to a small pump-sized pack on her back (like a teeny back pack), keeping the insulin pump in the centre of your child’s back, out of her reach.
(Please note, locking the user screen of the insulin pump can also prevent unintentional tampering with the pump, and is a good idea anytime you want to prevent unauthorized access to the pump. Also, Animas sells a soft-sided “Tamper-Proof case” that can be worn around the waist; it has a hard, clear plastic shield that fits in front of the insulin pump screen, preventing buttons from being pushed while the pump is zipped in the case. )
Pump Skins: silicone, rubber, or thin plastic wraps that replicate the exact shape of the insulin pump; these don’t actually hold the pump to your body, but they do dress it up – slip one on your child’s insulin pump or meter/remote to temporarily change its colour and to express your child’s personality. Animas and ACCU-CHEK each offer a selection of 8 different colours (including Animas’ camouflage print); “Skin It”removable adhesive skins fit Medtronic pumps and offer a huge variety of colours and patterns, from music to sports teams to abstract designs – you can even create your own custom skin.
Vinyl Covers and Decals:
If you’re looking for stylish and fun ways to liven up your family’s daily diabetes care… we love RCrazyIncredibleLife’s insulin pump pod and CGM sensor covers! D-Mom Jennifer began making her custom covers to decorate her daughter’s Omnipod pods and Dexcom transmitter. When they saw how excited she was to wear them, they decided to share that joy with other T1D’s. Their mission is to provide durable, creative covers, at an affordable price, and to help make inset and sensor changes in your home a little bit better! From hockey/bball/sports to Lego and robots, to art and Canadian flags, to unicorns and princesses… there’s something for everyone, at every age, in a variety of themes and styles. Or submit your own photo for custom covers. Their vinyl sensor and pod covers are durable, waterproof, reusable, and distributed from right here in Canada (to keep your cost as low as possible by avoiding exchange and shipping up-charges).
You may also want to check out Pump Peelz custom skins for Omnipod, Dexcom, Medtronic, Animas, Verio, Contour Next… (the list goes on!) Pump Peelz are specially designed graphics that are applied right to your d-device, are eco-friendly, non-pvc, and provide a personalized and fun look while also protecting your device from surface scratches, dust, etc. You can pick from dozens of designs including sports, nature, geometric patterns, colors, or you can create your own. (Canadian readers note that Pump Peelz are manufactured in and ship from the USA.)
Finding Pump Accessories
I start looking for pump accessories the same way I start looking for almost anything: I Google it. There are countless online retailers of pump-wearing accessories… just browse around until you see something that grabs you.
You may also want to check out the pump-wearing accessories on the pump manufacturer websites. (Bear in mind that pump accessories sold by your child’s pump company will naturally fit your child’s pump; those from other companies may or may not.) Generally speaking, the pouches and cases sold by the pump companies are basic in style and colours: lots of black and white, nothing too fancy, not much to convince a resistant young child or a picky teenager to wear a pump. (Although the accessories for the ACCU-CHEK Combo System do have some fun colours, even a dog-shaped insulin pump case for, as they say, “the young at heart”.) Pump company accessories are typically functional, discreet, and cover a wide range of needs – a good step in your pump-wearing research.
You could also seek out packs and pouches not specifically designed for insulin pumps. Earlier on in our pumping life, we went to Mountain Equipment CoOp (MEC) and looked through their pouches and belts – they’re worth a try to get something in your hand immediately, as well as something that can stand up to outdoor activites. They have a nice range of utility packs to fit an insulin pump, though nothing specifically designed for pumps. We also have had success with cell phone cases from various Looney Stores. We found an inexpensive green, camouflage-print cell-phone case with a clip on the back that our son used lots when he went through a period in which he didn’t want to wear belts – we simply clipped the case to his belt loop. And the camo print had him sold on the idea. And at dollar-store prices, you can stock up for the kid who likes variety.
Whatever and wherever you find pump-wearing accessories, feel free to try a few different options to see what fits; the key is finding the options that match your child’s activity needs as well as their personality. Happy hunting!
This material has been developed from sources that we believe are accurate, however, as the field of medicine (in particular as it applies to diabetes) is rapidly evolving, the information should not be relied upon, as it is designed for informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction and/or treatment. If you have specific questions, please consult your doctor or appropriate health care professional.
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