As I’ve mentioned at great length, D is reliant on a feeding tube. He uses it mostly overnight, but he has a few hours during the day where he needs to be hooked up. That means he’s attached to a bag full of formula/liquid and a small pump, either in a bag or on an IV pole. Our insurance gave us a backpack sized for adults – which was great when he was little and we were the ones hauling it around! When D first started crawling, it was super annoying chasing him around with the big backpack, and we were always worried K or someone would mess with or trip on the feeding tube wire. I decided to make him his own little backpack (which he’s been using for a few months), and recently got around to making a spare. I am not a great seamstress, but it’s a pretty straightforward process!
The features that are important to me are: A close fitting backpack, a way to secure the feeding bag (I prefer velcro, but tried a carabiner clip in the 1st one), a hole with a grommet on the side to run the wire out of while keeping the backpack zipped closed, and a clip on the back so I can hang it upright in the car. I don’t secure the pump down (although you could stitch some elastic or more velcro), and don’t have an opening on the front of the bag to access the pump — I just open it from the top. I try to minimize possible openings, since I think it would be more tempting for K (or other kids) to mess with!
D doesn’t mind wearing the backpack, although we first started with it empty and slowly filling it up with socks until he got used to the weight before adding the pump and bag. He rolls around with it and generally totally ignores it! This design would work for IV backpacks too, although I always found that those pumps were heavier.
- A backpack that fits your child, ideally with a chest strap (I like the Skip Hop Zoo Leash Backpack)
- A sewing machine
- Sewable velcro
- A durable strap or other material (I used the leash)
- Large grommet (get the kind that you don’t need a tool for!)
- Small carabiner clip (I used the one on the leash)
Okay, let’s get started!
- Turn the backpack inside out
- Decide where you want to put the hole – for the 1st one, I put it on the side with the mesh pocket, but that was really hard to maneuver and was annoying to string it around, so for this one I chose the empty side (which is also on the side of his body the feeding tube is). Either way I can put the end cap of the wire in the pocket when he’s hooked up, which is convenient.
- Trace the grommet pattern (included in the grommet kit) with a marker
- Cut out the hole – no turning back now!
- Turn the backpack rightside out (K says outside out, which I think is cute!)
- Place the grommet ends over the holes on each side
- Awkwardly press it against a table with your hand until it snaps/clicks closed – if your aim is off, you can pry it back apart with a screwdriver, replace it and try again. It took me a few tries the 1st time, but it was no problem the 2nd time.
- Ok great, the hole is done! Now let’s work on securing the feeding bag.
- Using the leash (or whatever strap/material you have), figure out how long it needs to be to secure the bag – mine is about 8″
- Cut off the appropriate length, fold over and stitch the ends to prevent fraying
- Cut about 2″ pieces of velcro and place on opposite ends (and sides!) of the strap
- Confirm this holds the bag the way you want it to
- Stitch the velcro on the strap, all the way around
- Place & pin the strap as close to the top of the backpack as you can (you want to be higher than the back straps – for the Skip Hop, just go above the name tag)
- Stitch the strap on the bag securely (I boxed it around, about the length of the nametag)
- Now for the carabiner clip – you could just keep one clipped on the back handle, but I decided to sew this one on to the back instead.
- Same process for the strap – fold over and stitch to prevent fraying, you just need a short length (less than 2″)
- Secure to the bag (I boxed it in again – please excuse my terrible stitch lines, I am no expert but I get the job done! )