gravity feed bottle that holds an entire meal (original version)

This page provides  the directions for making your own gravity feed bottle, and eliminate the necessity  of pouring  into a syringe for  your meal.

This bottle’s  modification will work for any tube feeder that gravity feeds (even thicker gravity blended meals, such as the ones I use).

[IMPORTANT UPDATE!]

Months after I made this post, I discovered the FIFO brand condiment bottle.  It needs absolutely no modifications  to work as a gravity feed bottle.  Follow this link to read about it (I’ll eventually get a page added under the DIY sections here)

http://tubechic.com/page/2/?s=fifo

[also…]

I did find away around having extension tubing attach directly to the bottle cap.  This alternate method does not require the use of silicone tubing.  The directions are found under the tab directly under this one, titled: “Gravity Feed Bottle (take 2)”.  If you are interested in going that route, you will still want to have read the page you are on first, as it gives information you will need regardless of what type of modification you decide to do to the bottle cap.


If you, or the tube  feeding person in your life, use small volumes (9 ounces or less) of gravity fed formula or blends, rather than modifying the bottle I use here, you can purchase a setup already done for you, by getting  the adapter from Tube Feeding Help and the baby bottles that work with that adapter.   I did purchase his adapters, and also the Playtex Ventaire bottles they are compatible with, and they work very well.

tube-feeding-help-adapter-wide-mouth

 

http://tubefeedinghelp.com/product/adapter-and-bottle/

The reason I continued to look for other solutions, is because my meals are typically about 14 ounces, and some meals, even more. The Playtex Ventaire only holds  9 ounces.

The man behind Tube Feeding Help is currently working toward offering an adapter that will work with larger capacity bottles. I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with. When it is done,  I will make sure to post about it here on Tube Chic.


The version of modified bottle cap described on this page attaches directly to tubing with a bolus connector tip at the end.  It will not plug into the “funnel” end of an extension set, or into the adapter tip of a long dangler g-tube.

The bottle I use opens from both the top and the bottom.  Air enters the bottle just by loosening the bottom cap (which becomes the top, when the bottle is inverted), and this allows the liquid to flow out of the bottle.

Easily done modifications to the cap enable it to serve as a gravity feed bottle.

This  bottle is also squeezable, so, when I’ve had instances that the flow stopped (my blends are relatively thick) all I had to do was tighten the  cap, squeeze the bottle, and once I saw/felt flow, clamp the tubing, and loosen the cap again and unclamp the tubing.

Here’s the bottle http://B0053OWBZ0 It holds 24 ounces.

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A handful of reviewers on Amazon said theirs leaked, but Clean Bottle has a lifetime guarantee for replacement of faulty parts, so, for $9.00 including shipping, I felt it was worth the gamble.   I’ve purchased three of these, and none leak so far.

The cap has a push/pull type valve to drink from.  This is it in the closed position:

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Here it is with it open:

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In the hopes of making these directions easy to follow, I am assigning  the  most important parts a letter designation. The grey valve sleeve is referred to as part (B) in the directions.

The photo below shows  (B) as it appears from the underside of the cap.

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To modify this cap to create a gravity feed bottle, first remove (B).  Pull, and when it stops, twist until it comes out of the cap. It is the lip part of this piece  that forms the seal, not the threaded part.

The center (A) structure of the valve is actually a hollow tube, (you can see this from the underside).  It is solid on the outside of the cap.  I know the photo directly above kind of looks like there is an open hole in (A), and I believe this is due to  light reflection during photography.

This is how the cap looks from underneath after (B)  is removed.

So, the first thing that has to be done, is drill out  (A) .  

The photos below show my son using a 1/4″ drill bit.

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Now, if you are okay with about 1 tablespoon of liquid remaining  in  the cap, that is all the work you have to do to the cap itself.

The reason for the residual,  is because  the structure of (A) projects  from the  underside of the cap, so the last bit of liquid cannot flow down the tube.

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It is  literally only one tablespoon.  But it is kind of annoying, if you know what I mean.

So, if that bothers you,  you’ve got to get rid of the plastic supports (C)  that attach  (A) to the cap. Frankly, I’m undecided if its worth the extra effort just for a tablespoon.

When you do this, (A)  will no longer be attached to the cap, and it will need to be cut off from the four plastic pieces (C) that held it in place when they were part of the underside of the cap.

To remove (A),  my son used a dremel with a small diameter cutoff wheel. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo showing this step in the process.

The photo below shows the distance whatever cutting tool you opt to use would need to be able to fit down into:

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To assemble the modified cap, I used a bolus connector from an old extension set, and silicone tubing that has an inside diameter of .188.  You can buy the tubing on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2catD0G.

You might be able to use plastic tubing of an extension set, just by cutting off the “funnel” end.   I cannot vouch as to whether it will seal, because I have not tried. It will also wear out over time. The silicone tubing forms a 100% leak proof seal and has great longevity, and, at  about $15 for ten feet of tubing, its  a great investment, and you can make the tubing for an extension set or gravity feed bottle  any length you want.

Here are photos from my “Money Saving Macgyver Type Hacks” post  that show how to connect  silicone tubing to a bolus connector.  For more detailed instructions you can read this post from September 1.

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Cut old bolus connector from feeding extension set with scissors (scissors not shown in photo, any scissors will do just fine)

tube hack 4 blog

If using a Mic-Key connector, snip off the ridge that runs around the it.  (I used the cuticle snips shown in photo. ) If using an AMT connector, you will either have to grind around the edge (it flares) or snip with scissors, which is messier, and looks a little bumpy, but works just fine, as it is not a hard to cut plastic.

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Put the end of the silicone tubing into some 99% isopropyl alcohol for a couple of minutes to help it stretch

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immediately push the end of tubing that was in the alcohol up onto the bolus connector

Now, back to assembling the modified cap:

It seems to be necessary to slice off some of the end of part (B).  Otherwise, it takes up too much room in the hole it must fit through, when the silicone tubing is connected to  (A).

Its very simple to do, my son just  cut it off with wimpy scissors.

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Showing how much was sliced off

Showing how much was sliced off

Here is how  to assemble a cap that has been modified by only drilling through the end of (A).

Slide a tubing clamp onto the silicone tubing, followed by the grey rubber valve sleeve (B).

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Work the silicone tubing down deep into the cap, as far as it will go onto part (A) Next, push (B)  down into place.

 

Here is the modified cap  with (A) still attached to cap:

Drilled out cap with valve sleeve inserted on outside. Underside of cap is intact, and approximately 1 tablespoon of liquid will remain when bottle is empty

The next set of directions are for if (C) that holds (A)  in  place was  removed.

When you assemble the cap, slide a clamp onto the silicone tubing,  and pull the tubing through the cap, with the tubing coming out of the top of the cap.  Then, push  the tubing onto the cut off section of part (A).

Next add the grey sleeve (B)  onto the tubing and push into place on the underside of the cap. image

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The photo directly above shows how it will look from the top.

Here’s  the finished product!

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To use the bottle, all you have to do is:

  • Pour your food into the bottle, and cap it tightly.
  • I like to lay the bottle on its side after the lid is on, and prime the tube. Once the blend has reached the end, I clamp the tubing off.

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  • Go get comfortable .
  • Invert the bottle.
  • Hook up to your g-tube
  • Loosen the  cap at top (which is actually the bottom when the bottle is not inverted). Once air enters the bottle  the vacuum effect is gone, and your meal will flow nicely on its own.
  • Unclamp the tubing
  • If it goes in at a faster pace than you want, tighten the cap some.
  • If it stops flowing due to a thick particle  (happens sometimes with blends)  and pinching the tubing a few times doesn’t get it started, you most likely can re-establish  flow by tightening the cap, and squeezing the bottle.  Once it starts to move again, clamp the tubing, unscrew the lid, unclamp and finish enjoying your meal.
  • If you’re using a blend, and it keeps stopping flow because its too thick, it is simple enough to add some water to it, cap, and shake, without even having to get up.

I’ve found I can leave the cap “almost” closed, and get a very nice leisurely flow of even super thin liquids such as coffee and water.

Having a no pour, no plunge, no accidental spill meal,  can free you up to enjoy the company of others, or do just about anything you would normally would have done during a meal,  back when you still  were able to eat by mouth.

Lunch alfresco

 

Even though I listed a seemingly long list of steps for directions, this bottle really is not very complicated, or time consuming to modify.

For first bottle my son and I made, most of our time was spent staring the cap, thinking it could  somehow be made to work, but not knowing quite how to proceed,  ha ha.

With the second bottle,  had we not taken time for photos,  it would have been modified in under 10 minutes.

As anyone who has read on this website much can tell, I love using the Jofas Clamp.  Unfortunately it will not fit the circumference of this bottle.  I came up with a temporary fix, by attaching a water bottle holder that tightens onto the flexible arm part of the clamp.  This is positioned under the clamp that comes with this device, so, I can still use both holders depending on whether I am using a syringe or a bottle.    The bottle holder is plastic, so I was able to snip off part of the bottom grid, and enable the tubing to  feed down through it.   The bottle is a bit too large in diameter to fit down into the bottom part of the holder, and  I’m searching for a better method.  Here is a photo:image

Here is the link to it on Amazon:

http://amzn.to/2dirTCP

I have contacted the Jofas Clamp company to see if they have a better suggestion for a larger circumference clamp.

I also found a holder that attaches with suction to glass, and recently used it for a road trip (by attaching  the holder to the windshield)  I was the passenger, not the driver.   It will accommodate  the girth of this bottle, which is nice.  More about that holder, complete with photos, at a later date.