6 yr old son is hesitant to pumping....help

My 6 yr old son was diagnosed in July 09. My nephew who is 10 now was diagnosed at 18 mos and has been pumping for years with experience on several pumps so I’m pretty educated on the benefits since my sons diangosis and I’ve been ready. We even made a trip to FL to spend time with him so my son could see how it all worked. He liked the idea of not getting 4 shots a day compared to one site injection every 3. However, I am now scheduled for the pump class next month where we will be able to meet with the vendors and try some out. I’ve been trying to prepare him every chance I have because I know it’s critical that he’s on board with this too, but each time I mention it he’s resistant. Now he’s 6 and I’m having a hard time deciding if he’s seriously against it or just saying that because it’s change…and he’s actually really interested in it.

Any suggestions from other parents in preparing their kids for pumping would be appreciated.

Hi Susie! I’m not a parent yet, but I do agree that it is so important that your son wants this. I know parents that waited for years until their son decided that he was ready for the pump. I think that his blood sugars suffered because of it, but in a way I agreed with them because I don’t know how successful they would have been with the pump if he didn’t want it. After all, it is attached to him all the time.

Could you get him to agree to try it until summer or for a month? I think that he will like it better and stay. If not, it’s OK to take a break and go back to injections. I did this in my first year of pumping, but it only lasted for a few weeks cause I missed the pump.

If you ask a few of the manufacturers, they may send you a “try it out” type of pump to use with no insulin. Have your son learn about a few of them with you, then practice giving a bolus when he gets his shot, give his shot, then say something like, “Wow, just think, if you get a pump, all we would do is push a few buttons and that would be it.” Give him the hands on type of stuff because after all he is a BOY!! You may be surprised at how much he will learn and how fast he will learn it. Then, his management will a little less strict. He will be able to sleep in, eat if he’s starving, not eat if he doesn’t want, etc. Just make sure he knows about his BS and how important it is to check them before pushing any buttons. Some pumps even have a lock out feature on them. Let us know what he is thinking if you can get it out of him. The way we got stuff out of my young one, now 14, was to sit and play with Hot Wheels. It was amazing how much you could learn.

Kristin…great idea about the short term trial run. It never crossed my mind to try and make a deal with him that way. Letting him know he has an option if he truly doesn’t like it. I’m so hoping he does…I’m a single mom and I’m getting to the point where I feel like the donut guy getting up at 3am mumbling to himself…“gotta make the donuts”…each time I’m having to prepare his injections. Thank you.

I’m not the parent of a diabetic child, but I know going on the pump for me was a long process. I was resistent to it also, but eventually came around to the idea. I’d give him some more time, don’t press the issue and when he’s ready, he’ll tell you. He’s newly diagnosed and he’s young, so he’s probably still processing all the emotions which are going along with this life changing event.

Big hugs to you and your son.

Do you think he’s worried about being made fun of, or about having something on him all the time that labels him as a dibetic/different than others? See if you can help him figure out the root cause of his hesitation and go from there.

Take a look at a few of Lorraine’s videos here


her son Caleb wears the Omnipod, and she has done a few videos of him changing his pod. I think he’s seven years old.

I just finished watching most of them…very helpful even for me. I can’t wait to show Jacob. Thank you so much!

Hi! Caleb’s mom here :). I think Kristin’s suggestion is a good one. Caleb was four when he started pumping and I did not give him an option at the time because it was simply too important of a decision from my perspective. However, there is a big difference between age four and age six, so I appreciate the need to be sensitive. I can relate to this kind of decision because we went through this recently with CGM. I spent months talking about it with Caleb and letting him decide. I never felt like we really got there, but we agreed to at least try it. The concept of it not being a permanent thing really seemed to get us both over the hump (I wasn’t completely convinced about taking this trip myself).

In retrospect, I think the change and the newness was what made it difficult to decide. The reality is, even if it’s a better option, it’s still a “scary” device with some kind of needle.

Good luck!


Maybe he needs to attend a diabetes camp for kids. That way he can see how other kids deal with their D on a daily basis and he will get good training at the camp. He is kinda young though, not sure what the age limit to start is.

I wanted to let you know how thankful I am to all the work you’ve put into documenting your journey. I mentioned it to my son last night and still all he can say is “I don’t want the pump”. I asked him why and he doesn’t really have an answer for me. I offered the trial run with the option of going right back to the shots…still nothing. We’re going to watch your videos tonight though so I’m really hoping that seeing some of this visually might help him warm up to the idea. At the very least start discussing it with me rather than completely shut me out.

I was going to recommend Camp, seeing the skins some of the kids have on their pumps (sports team logo’s, army camo, designs etc) may be a neat feature.

My guy is 8 (dxd at 7) the kids at school and hockey think its a MP3 player, so he doesn’t feel too self conscience about kids seeing it.

Your son has lots of years to live and maybe starting a pump in a year will be better for him (mentally, physically, emotionally) than this year. Will that be better for you? I don’t know.

Diabetes control is a tide that ebbs and flows–as life changes, as technology changes, as treatment protocol changes. And that’s perhaps the most important lesson to learn together.

I understand the effort you must go through to carry the full burden of his diabetes self-care. But eventually, you get to let go. He does not. To me, that adds extra things to navigate in the parent-child relationship. But, of course, the only point of view I have is that of a grown-up child with diabetes :slight_smile:

Diabetes camp is an option I highly recommend. And I bet my parents would recommend it, too!

At six, he is hardly able to make an educated decision. You are the parent and get to do that for him. I know a lot of 6 yr olds who would rather not eat what they should, exercise as they should, obey adults as they should. Being a pump wearer, I can imagine things would be easier for you as the parent in charge of all the diabetic details of the day, too! Life is complicated as it is and the pump has so many advantages. A variable, easy to adjust basal rate for your son would be a great gift! Pumps help manage random snacks or no meals or sick days… I’d just start telling him you have decided he will wear the pump (and let him know the date on the calendar), and he needs to get busy to pick out the color, the skins, any other accesories. If you make the announcement as a done deal and give him time to adjust to that, I think he will see your confidence in the decision and follow your lead. We all have bad memories in our youth, especially about being forced to do things we don’t want. For children with diabetes, it will likely be something about treating their diabetes. It is inevitable and I don’t think it is worth stressing about as a parent. You can give him the state of the art treatments. That is something to feel good about. I’m sorry for your beautiful son to have to deal with diabetes, but with your love and attention to his health, all will be well. And on a pump, life gets a little less complicated (in my opinion).

Checkout www.2betr.com - great biased for starting pumping!

I LOVE Better is Better. One was included with my pump info. I promptly ordered a dozen to give away.

I like your suggestion, I’m wondering though if I’ve screwed that up now by carrying on these conversations with him over the last couple of months giving him the option. And now by telling him I’ve made this decision for him, may make him angry about it all. I know I’m the parent, deal with it. Him adjusting to this whole situation has been so smoothe so far, very little complaints or issues to deal with. I’d hate to ruin that. I’ve stopped bringing it up though and still have until the 18th to take care of this before our pump class. So I suppose I do have some time to give that a try. Thanks.


I can tell you as a kid, I was dx at age 9, and almost no one was on a pump back then. It was still a new thing and very scary. It is a wonderful thing that you are able to get him on a pump after only 1 year! I had to wait until I was 15 before my endo would even consider it! I would be sure to tell him (if you dont think he totally understands already) that D is not something to be ashamed of, and that wearing a pump will make it easier to go to sleepovers, will eliminate a lot of sick days from D, and the other benefits. I think telling him you are going to do it might be a good plan. I couldnt imagine he wouldn’t like it, and I know that I wish my parents had looked into it more when I was younger instead of me ahving to wait until I am 17. He will thank you when he is 30, has his own children adn understands that you were doing the best thing for him, and possibly prevented some long term and/or life threatening side effects.

Let us know what happens!! I am so happy for you and your son, hes a cutie!

When I first started fighting for a pump 3 years ago it scared my younger daughter. All she knew about diabetes is that her grandfather had died from it. I found and bought a toy monkey that has a pump. I used this to explain to her about my diabetes and being on a pump. She then thought it was cool to be a diabetic.

Check out the Fifty Fifty Pharmacy website especially the kids corner.

Thanks so much for the reference to the monkey with the pump. Elisabeth has been wearing the pump almost 3 years, but I think she will love this and I think it will help with her infusion site changes. Thanks!