How do you wear yours? The challenges (and solutions) of wearing an insulin pump – by Katie Collins
It’s one of those mornings. I’m staring into my messy wardrobe and I don’t know what on Earth to wear. I’m not just being picky; I’m genuinely stuck.
A few weeks ago I was fitted with an insulin pump to help manage my Type 1 diabetes, diagnosed two years ago. The pump is an amazing piece of kit and I love it already. I am however finding it odd having a pager-sized device with tubing attached to me at all times. I was dreading sleeping with it but surprisingly that’s been perfectly fine so far.
Clothes-wise though, it’s left me stuck. Suddenly casual dresses I’d wear on a daily basis to ferry the kids round are tricky to wear when you need easy access to the pump.
So what’s the solution? I’ve been googling around and scanning Pinterest for ideas and inspiration for how to wear my new friend. I’ve come across some clever solutions and ideas for ladies like me, genuinely stumped:
Most other female pump users I’ve spoken to wear their pump clipped to their bra. I’ve tried this and I don’t find it hugely comfortable but it’s an option. During one of many online searches for pump fashion, I came across a couple of sports storage bras.
These clever designs are aimed at those who want to store their mobile phone/house keys/money while they run or take part in exercise. These by The North Face (above, right) and Senita Athletics (left) are the best I’ve found so far for my pump.
OK, let’s be honest. We’re talking about a bumbag. Mine is a buttery soft toffee-coloured, leather number. I actually bought it a few years ago before I even had Type 1. It’s the perfect size for my pump and another option to consider. Waist bag by Clare.V
Another clever idea. The shorts are a great option if you want to wear a dress with a fuller skirt. I have a wedding coming up over the summer and plan to carry my pump in these.
The leggings help solve my everyday dress dilemma, as the side pocket allows for easy access to the pump. Both the shorts and leggings are by Senita Athletics.
Some days I don’t bother hiding my pump – I am happy to have it on show. A late night scan of Instagram recently led me to several websites selling stickers for pumps and CGMs. I’ve chosen the palm leaves design for my pump and feel like a little bit of my personality is stamped on my new companion! The palm leaves design (left) is by Prikkedief.
A week after getting my pump fitted I booked in to see a personal shopper at my local department store. It’s usually a free service, many department stores offer it and there’s no obligation to buy if nothing takes your fancy. During my two hour appointment,
Helen, my fashion consultant listened as I explained I needed solutions for wearing the pump. She came back with a selection of comfortable trousers with pockets and looser fitting tops. I left the store a little poorer but with a bag full of new clothes and a spring in my step.
So these are just some of the solutions I have found so far. It’s an ongoing challenge but it seems more pump wear is coming onto the market daily. I’m confident that it’ll become easier as time goes on – more clothes will come onto the market and the pumps will get smaller.
I’m constantly on the look out for new ideas to try and would love to hear how other Type 1’s with pumps wear theirs. Let me know: