The diabetic's guide to wearing an insulin pump
Insulin PumpClick thumbnail to view full-size
Insulin Pump - the eternal question
To those of us using an insulin pump often colloquially referred to as "pumpers", an insulin pump is a life changer. Its hard to believe sometimes that something so small can be powerful enough to change the day to day management of our diabetes but its hard to disagree based on lower blood testing results and better general diabetes management.
However despite the obvious benefits, one of the most frequently asked questions or concerns for people contemplating starting on a pump centres around how does someone carry a pump around with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
it's a valid concern for many people as to how they will manage in a variety of normal daily scenarios - what about when I'm asleep? how about when i exercise? what should I do in other scenarios where I have no pockets and I don't want my pump to be on my mind?
Its a valid concern because one of the recommendations for pumpers is to be attached to the device for the majority of the day with only small amounts of time where it should be removed. i.e. showering, swimming (if not waterproof) and potentially for some types of exercise
Insulin Pump Pouch
How to wear the pump
Luckily for the pumper community, there is always a solution to nearly every problem and quite often there is more than one.
Lets start with the simple solutions, the easiest place to store a pump is in my jeans or trouser pocket. I just slide it into my pocket, tuck in the wires and off I go. I love it because its easy to access and doesn't matter what I'm up to, I can just grab it, pull it out and slide it back in whenever I'm finished using it.
Being a girl though, quite often women's clothing doesn't have pockets and there is also the problem of what happens when you wear a skirt or dress.
The bra is the next cost effective method to store in the pump. Depending on your size, there is a capacity to slide the pump either in the front or side of your bra. Most of the time its quite discreet but it becomes more interesting when you have to pull it out. Some people can do that discreetly but I often just run to the ladies.
My second favourite method of wearing the pump is to use a pump pouch. (pictured) The pump pouch is made of either some elastic or Velcro to wear around your waist (or sometimes leg or arm) with a pouch attached to safely store your pump. Its up to you whether you display the pump externally to your clothes or whether you discreetly wear underneath. For me, I usually choose the later. Its brilliantly simple and if you are talented you can even make one yourself.
One of my other favourite solutions is to put my pump in a baby sock.
A baby sock you say?
its definitely a great way to manage through the night, grab a baby sock and a nappy pin, slot the pin through the sock and then attach to whatever clothes you are wearing and you are set to go.
Even though I use all of the above, my all time favourite method of wearing an insulin pump especially when I'm playing sport is the Spibelt. (pictured). I'm a runner so this is one of the reasons its so close to my heart (or my waist depending on where I choose to wear it)
The Spibelt is basically a fancier version of a pump pouch. Its made of material with a buckle to close. My favourite version is the double pouch that has a small zip to allow me to carry all my running gear. I have been known to carry a pump in one pouch and keys, blood test machine and jelly babies in the other. Perfect!
Ive also been known to collapse exhausted into bed in nothing else but my Spibelt (blush!)
I hope this gives both current pumpers and prospective pumpers some ideas on how to wear your pump. Its pretty easy to manage and if anyone has other brilliant ideas let me know