Raising a child with a G-tube can be challenging at times, especially with an active kid. But if there's anything parents of kids with G-tubes have in common, it's that we've all learned to get creative to make the experience as smooth as possible.
There's a lot of helpful products out there that the medical supply companies either don't make at all, or they're expensive/not covered by insurance.
So, on more than one occasion, when troubleshooting issues we've been having, I've been encouraged by my son's medical team to check out Etsy for tube feeding products.
The best part is that these Etsy sellers tend to be other special needs families, so buying from them gives us a way to support each other! Win-win.
Here's my evolving list of handmade products for kids with G-tubes from Etsy. Please let me know in the comments if I've missed any important categories or items that you've found helpful in your family's tube feeding journey.
There are hundreds of different G-tube pads available -- in just about every color, pattern, Disney character, superhero, etc. imaginable. We actually don't use them currently, because Joe is still so finicky about us touching his G-tube, but I think maybe when he gets a little older he might enjoy them.
We still use onesies (specifically these sleeveless ones) as undershirts to provide some protection for Joe's G-tube. But he's close to growing out of the largest size they make them in, and all of the alternatives from other retailers I've found are much more expensive.
So, I'm starting to look into protective belts for him to wear under a regular shirt. Not sure if he'll go for it -- I can totally see him wanting to stick with bodysuits. But there are a lot of custom-made protective belts to choose from after you take measurements of your child.
Port Connection Covers
There's a saying among the feeding tube community -- "feeding the bed" -- which happens when the extension set gets disconnected from the feeding pump bag during a feed.
Waking up to a kid and bed or crib covered in formula and stomach contents is such a drag!
We've "fed the bed" a few times and have also had issues with Joe fiddling with the med port and leaving it open. Not quite as messy, but still annoying.
Port connection covers can help prevent those accidental disconnections.
There are several patterns of port covers available in @BelliButtons shop.
Tummy Time Belts for Babies with G-Tubes
Tummy time is important for physical development, but it can be nervewracking when a baby has a G-tube that can become dislodged while they're squirming around.
A padded belt can make tummy time more comfortable while protecting the G-tube.
Feeding Pump Backpacks
For the kiddos on continuous or long bolus feeds during the daytime, a modified backpack can help transport their feeding pump and supplies.
Those super cute SkipHop backpacks seem to work for many kids. After modification, they will accommodate either the Infinity or Kangaroo Joey pump.
@LaluCompany turns both the small and medium-size SkipHop backpacks into feeding pump backpacks.
Insulated Covers for Feeding Pump Bags
Another super helpful product is an insulated cover for feeding pump bags. You can stick ice packs inside to keep the formula or blended food cold overnight or during the day.
I've seen some insulated covers that appear to work with all sizes of bags; others are made specifically for each brand (Joey or Infinity) and size, like these from @BoulevardDesigns:
I always meant to buy some of those iron-on patches (Tummy Tunnels) for Joe's pajamas, but we've just ended up cutting holes in inexpensive pajamas. He's only tube fed overnight, so we don't need a full wardrobe of adaptive clothing.
@AbiliteeAdaptiveWear makes bodysuits in a few different styles with openings on either side of the abdomen.
@GretaGraceGarb also carries clothing that has already been modified with a welt opening and pocket flap, or they'll send you made-to-order modified bodysuits that you can customize a bit.
Awesome Onesies, T-Shirts, and More for Kids with G-Tubes
Of course, I had to save the fun for last.
Another thing we special needs families tend to have in common is a good sense of humor, and these shirts are a great way to inject some of that into #tubielife.
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