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Pump Wearing Options

For background information for this article, we also recommend reading: Pump-Wearing AccWearing a an insulin pump pouchessories

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.

tips from the trenches of type 1 diabetes

In terms of waist pump belts, the two companies that we have used the most are: Spibelt; and Tummitote from Tally Gear.com.

Spibelt makes sports belts out of Lycra, with an integrated elastic belt and a zipper closure on the pouch. They offer lots of colours and cool prints, and come in a variety of sizes from child up to adult. Even when he was three years old, a Spibelt fit snugly on our skinny son. The nice thing about Spibelt is they are small and streamlined, but can expand to accommodate all the paraphernalia that individuals with diabetes carry around. Also, they are designed not to flip, sag or bounce during activity, so are handy for runners and other athletes who want to carry the essentials on them. Additionally, if you get a SpiBelt wet, the Lycra fabric dries quicker than pump pouches made of cotton. The only drawbacks we’ve found are: that the plastic clip can be uncomfortable if our son lays on it, or (I hate to admit it’s happened!) if we catch his skin in the buckle when we’re snapping it shut; since there are no see-through windows, you have to take the insulin pump out to access the buttons, which some people may feel is a hassle.

Tallygear also makes a stretchy Lycra waistband called Tummitote: about 3 inches wide, with three Velcro-closure pockets that are integrated into the belt design; a wide Velcro section keeps it snugly attached around your child’s waist. They also offer dozens of colours and cool prints, as well as a range of sizes. Again, our skinny little boy has worn a Tummitote since he was three without it hanging or gaping. Like Spibelt, if you get a Tummitote wet, the Lycra fabric dries quicker than pump pouches made of cotton. When we asked each of our sons which insulin pump belt was their favourite, they enthusiastically endorsed Tummitote, saying that they're really comfortable, and they NEVER flip or twist. The other thing we love about Tummitote from a parent’s perspective, is that you can opt for a clear, see-through window for one or more of the three pockets, which means you or your child can see the trend graph on a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) receiver, or push the function buttons on an insulin pump, without having to take it out of the pouch. This is a selling feature for some and a nightmare for others (depending on how much access you want your child to have), so you can opt for all Lycra (no clear windows) if you choose. Also, the three separate pockets evenly distribute different items – we put our son’s pump in one pocket, his CGM receiver in another, and still have another pocket to store some fast-acting glucose for treatment of low blood glucose – all without creating a big bulge in one area. The drawbacks? Tummitote is wider than Spibelt (not as discrete) and can trap body heat – we find our son sweats quite a bit under his Tummitote at night and on hot summer days, so we tend to use a different insulin pump pouch at these times.

We have also had success with small, soft-sided, quilted, cotton pouches from Grandma’s Hands. When my (Michelle’s) son first got his pump, he LOVED the pouches we got for him: one with police cars all over it, one with a colourful ambulance/emergency vehicle pattern. They also have cool patterns for older kids. The main drawback for us was the non-elastic belt that came with it – it didn’t “give” so wasn’t as comfortable around his waist as other pump belts. If you love the pouches, however, you can order a pouch without a belt and feed any preferred belt through the loop on the back of the pouch.
~Danielle and Michelle

Clip-on case for insulin pump wearing options

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.

Next see: Finding Pump-Wearing Accessories

Any questions? Comments? Feel free to Contact Us.

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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