It's Feeding Tube Awareness Week again!
Life with one tubey kiddo is...interesting. Life with two tubeys is...loud. Pumps beep, and it's always fun trying to figure out whose it is. Rather than going into detail about what life is like (you can read about that here), I'm sharing the 5 not-quite-official tube supply items that we have found indispensable.
1. Pampered Chef Plunger Pitcher
We make formula in huge quantities for the Celia and Damien, and most pitchers are far too small. The large pitcher from Pampered Chef is awesome because we can make enough for the whole day, fill bags and stash leftover in the fridge for refilling, rather than having to make two or three batches. Yes, there are other companies that make plunger pitchers, but they hold less than a quart, and since we go through nearly a gallon a day, they just don't cut it for us.
2. Gram Scale
Did you know that using a scoop to measure formula powder by volume can over or under concentrate it by up to 10%? It's because of how fluffy or compact the powder is in the can (or scoop). A gram is a gram is a gram -- so we use a gram scale to make sure it's accurate. This is the one that we use, but anything that is accurate to the gram will work.
3. Dawn dish detergent
Ok, yeah, I know...it's just dish soap. But the lipids in formula bond to everything -- pitchers, clothes, the floor -- and Dawn cuts right though it. I've even been known to use a (VERY!!) tiny bit in the washer to try to salvage some of their shirts. I'm not brand-loyal to many non-food items, and will buy the "El Cheapo" cleaning supplies to save a few cents, but I'm not budging on Dawn. If I forget to pack it when we're away, I'll find a grocery store to get some rather than try to work without it!
4. 2 Gallon size Zip-Top Bags
These things are amazing! They are perfect for spare clothes for older kids (I can't believe we started out using quart bags and having leftover space when Celia first got her tube!) and invaluable for sorting supplies. When we go away, I will pack a 2 gallon bag with Celia's 1200 mL feeding bags, and a separate one for Damien's 500s, so I don't have to sift through 40-some bags to find the right size. (Rule number 1: bring one bag for each day you plan to be away, and half again as many extra, in case a bag ruptures or you get held up. It's far better to have extra to take home than to have to try to get spares from your DME when you're nowhere near home.)
5. Power Inverter
Our pumps will run for 24 hours on a single (full) charge, but sometimes...they don't get plugged in overnight. A power inverter is great for a quick charge on the road, or for longer trips where you'd prefer to keep your battery life for when you're not sitting in the car. In the past, we've left charging cords in the car if we've had a single overnight stay (one less thing to lose in the hotel room!) and just plug the pump into the inverter when we're back on the road. One thing we learned the hard way -- you want something that is going to be strong enough to run the charger but not so strong you need to hook it up directly to the car battery (not going to work so well driving down the highway!)
Bonus: Crocs Backpack
In the picture above, you can see the kids' backpacks that each wears while the pump is going. They are from Crocs, and are made of the same neoprene material as the shoes. We LOVE them because they're easily washed off and wiped dry. Unfortunately, it seems they are out of stock - I don't know if they've been discontinued (I'll cry) or just are currently unavailable. If I could have linked to them, I'd have put them at the top of our list of "Things we wouldn't like to live without," but since I can't, I'll leave them as an addendum. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to share a live link.
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