Handy things to have, and where to look for them

SHOPPING RESOURCES

Think beyond medical supply companies for your tube feeding supplies.   For containers, sports and outdoor categories are a good place to start (and there is an entire section on my website that discusses specific containers that won’t leak).

Syringe options:

If you have a DME (durable medical equipment) company managing your feeding tube supplies, they most likely have given you a standard 60ml syringe to use.  It will be labeled “single use only” (right…).  These syringes quickly begin to stick to where they are extremely difficult to plunge.  If, you are only pouring into the syringe, because you use the gravity feeding method, the plunger issue is not as much of a problem, but, there is still the fact that the syringe only holds two ounces, so that means several pours for each meal, and lots of opportunities for spills.

You have other choices.  These choices won’t come from your DME though.

If you are using the plunger to push your meals, there is an o ring syringe called the Miracle Syringe,  it is practically indestructible.   With proper care, it will last indefinitely.  The only resource for it I have found is The Squirrel Store.  They do carry other o rings other than by Miracle Syringe, but, I do not know if these other o rings have the longevity.  They may, I just don’t know.  I use this brand syringes for my small medications/supplements. Here is a link to the store: http://www.squirrelstore.com/store/744999/category/37807716

If you are using the gravity feed method, there are larger capacity syringes which cut down on number of pours, and also have  slightly larger diameter, which helps with getting contents into the syringe, instead of on the tube feeder 🙂  I am adding a link for one vendor, but I have no experience with this vendor, do not know if their pricing is competitive, the link is purely a jumping off point for you if you are searching for where to buy large syringes. http://medicalsupplies.healthcaresupplypros.com/swd114055

In the past, I cut the bottom off of a large squeeze bottle used for condiments, and poured into that.  It worked fine, but the walls are kind of flimsy.

I have switched to gravity feeding, after years of pushed meals, mainly due to some problems with my hand strength (I could never push more than the 60ml volume syringes anyway).  But, beyond that reason, it frees me up to enjoy a meal more, rather than the constant refilling of a syringe.  Because I prefer not to have to keep pouring, I mainly (almost exclusively) use two bottle type dispensers.  One is a baby bottle, the Playtex Ventaire, and on that bottle, instead of the nipple, is a feeding tube adapter tip.  Here is the link to the site to purchase it. http://tubefeedinghelp.com/how-it-works/  I use the baby bottle method for small snack meals (9 ounces or less).

 I use thicker blends than typically used for gravity feeding, and enjoy the leisurely flow.  As an example, for breakfast, I put one container of baby food fruit (most recently blueberry/pear) in the Playtex Ventaire, add hot water to top the bottle off, shake it up, and have that first before my morning coffee/whole milk/protein powder blend which goes into  the larger gravity feed bottle.   Instead of baby food, 4 ounces of applesauce (regular from grocery store) plus  4 ounces hot water will gravity feed easily with this botte.  Or, you could add a protein shake.  The point being that even if you intend to just use formula provided by your DME, unless you have some sort of dietary restrictions, consider branching out by trying some real food too. It will put some normalcy back into your life, make you feel better, and start looking at meal time as “food time” again, instead of “oh my, I have a feeding tube”!

The only larger capacity gravity feed bottle that I know of so far, is the one described under the DIY section of my website.  I am very happy with it, use it for every single meal.  I’m even comfortable sitting down to eat without an arsenal of wipe up cloths,lol.  Seriously, no spills, no splashes, just a nice relaxed meal.  Again, I do use thicker blends than normally used for gravity feeding, and that is something you would have to adjust on your own.  I glance over at the bottle occasionally, to ensure I have flow, and that ‘s about it.  You can learn more about the FIFO bottle here: http://tubechic.com/?s=no+modification

Baby bottles are handy to store small amounts in, and they’re great for water.  I like the glass Evenflo classic bottles the best, even though they weigh more than plastic.

There are caps by Dr Brown (company) that fit most standard baby bottles  The company also has a widemouth version, but I have not tried.  The standard size travel caps  are as close to perfect as anyone could ask for.  They don’t leak (ever!) don’t crack or split over time.  The ones I purchased several years ago are still as good as the first time I used them.

I donated the nipple and collar assembly that comes with a baby bottle, and use this cap instead.

Here is what they look like:

Dr Brown's travel caps

Dr Brown’s travel caps

Amazon carries them, and so does Toys R’ Us, and other stores you can find locally that have supplies for babies. Here is the link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/2eruHj5

You can check under the “Equipment” tab of my website for more shopping resources for containers, brushes to clean tubes, bottles, etc.

 

Backpacks are another idea for carrying your stuff when you’re on the go.

 

 

TAMING THE TUBE…

Keeping your tube stable and contained, but yet accessible is another issue adult tube feeders are confronted with.  If you have a low profile button, its not so much of  a factor, because the tubing for meals is disconnected while not in use.  But, if you have a long “dangler” tube, its with you always.

Some people swear by attaching the end to a lanyard hung around their neck. But, there are other options.

For more custom tube management, there is the cottage industry.  The most well known online place to find them is on Etsy.  Although many of the Etsy shops are more focused on babies and children with feeding tubes, some also feature adult styles, and, almost all who make their own inventory will create custom orders.

Here is a shop on Etsy that makes peg tube belts for adults:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/266234468/extra-large-adult-gi-feeding-tube?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=tube%20belt&ref=sr_gallery_19

Look at how nice this tube management belt is from her shop!

or this one…

tube-belt-etsy-blog

At the time of me writing this, the price for these are $25.  Compare that to this belt from a medical supply company that retails for a few dollars more.

tuubezz-blog

(I am not affiliated with her shop, or even purchased from her, just trying to show examples for living better).

Here is a shop that sells tube accessible polo shirts.  Not a whole lot of choices. but you can check out the link if you’re interested.

http://www.tubenmann.com/store.html