This blog entry was originally posted to our site on 8/22/15.
There are two main benefits of using coolers for G-Tube feeds that every tube-feeding family should know about. These are Food Safety and Convenience.
When kept at temperatures between 55-75 degrees, Abbot Nutrition provides the following guidelines on formula hang times on their website:
"Ready-to-use feedings that have been prepared using clean techniques to decant them into administration containers may be hung safely at the bedside for eight to 12 hours....
Hang time for reconstituted powdered products for use in adults should be limited to four hours. In all cases, label instructions should be followed to ensure sanitary handling techniques."
For families that bolus feed using a pump these hang times may be irrelevant - often bolus feeds are done rather quickly. For other families, like ours, food safety was still an issue with bolus feeds.
Allison had a very sensitive stomach, and her feedings ran for as long as 2 hours before we switched her G-Tube to a GJ-Tube and started running continuous feeds. We experienced clumping and "browning" of formula in used tubing in as little as an hour on warm summer days.
For all formula types, Abbot Nutrition increases these times to at least 24 hours upon refrigeration. Cooler bags can provide a refrigerated environment with the use of ice packs and provide important protection from food spoilage.
Rigorous feeding schedules, especially during the night, are exhausting. For months we fed Allison 2 hours on, 1 hour off. Our powdered formula required us to rinse the bag between feedings, refill and reprime for every feed to comply with the 4 hour hang time requirement. It was hard.
When I made our first cooler bag our life became so much easier! We were able to mix multiple feedings at a time and eliminate the need to rinse and prime the bag after each one. We simply unhooked the bag tubing from her extension and tucked it up in the cooler to store in between meals. Later, when we switched to a GJ-Tube, continuous feeds were a breeze.
With a cooler bag, travelling was also much easier with our little tubie since we were able to mix enough food for our entire adventure at once instead of stopping while we were out. We were also able to turn feeds on and off in the night without waking her up!
16Team Russcher cooler bags have been designed with busy tube feeding families in mind - we were one! Our bags have a waterproof fabric on the inside to keep condensation in (and bag leaks, they happen). A layer of insulated batting keeps heat out and cold in. We also provide plenty of room for you to use an ice pack or two, yet our 500ml bags are small enough to stuff into a small backpack!
We offer "IV Pole Style" bags with a top hook to hang from a pole or hook, and "Car Seat Style" bags with straps to hook around a car seat, chair, or crib rung. We also offer front pockets for an additional fee, which eliminate the need to carry a backpack for the pump!
Our coolers are machine washable.
Let us make your tube feeding journey safer and more convenient with one of our custom coolers. You can check them out here: http://etsy.me/1sIgGJ7
Blog readers - take 10% off your custom cooler order through 5/31/16 with code: BLOGCOOLER16
Thanks for checking out the Team Russcher BLOG! Be sure to check back often for coupon codes and sales events!