Living with tubed pump

I haven’t got a pump yet, but all things being just in the world, I should hopefully be getting to grips with one soon.

How do people live with a tube day to day?

How do you go to bed with it?

Do you have to make sure you wear something practical to clip pump onto, or need deep pockets for pump to sit in?

How does it handle an active lifestyle?

What back up equipment should you carry, just in case?

Any good resources to have a look at that may be useful for the transition from MDI?

I have lived with a pump a longggg time. TID for 50+ years. I have been very active. Track, cross country, weigh-lifting, swimming and more. You will get used it and not even think about it. I just clip it on my belt. People used to ask if it was a pager (remember those?). I always have the insertion in my abdomen. When I sleep, I just put it on the bed to the side I am sleeping on Just underwear to bed. Of course, with Omnipod there is not tube which is their selling feature for the active. After all these years on Medtronic I am going to Tandem T:slim. Would never go back to shots. Some people say the CGM was/is more important than the pump. I just think the evolution has been great. The technology today is amazing. Hopefully you are on or get a CGM soon. Good luck!


Ahhh, I think its much easier for men than women. We generally wear clothing that has a waist band, a nice place to clip a pump.

But it doesn’t have to be on a waist band. Before I retired I wore mine in the pocket of my workshirt when working, a safe place in my work environment. When sleeping on the waist of a pair of gym shorts or in the pockets. Often I wear old style blue jeans that still have a watch pocket which I find is an excellent place to stuff my pump. At the moment I am wearing a pair of farmers overalls with my pump stuffed into the rather generous pockets.

There is always options for where to wear a pump, you just have to choose what suits you.


Thanks, thats encouraging to hear. Im using an MM2 with Libre for a CGM, seems to have worked mighty fine in dropping A1Cs down.
Certainly can second you there, the tech improvements are amazing.
Would really like, in the months ahead to close the loop once I’m used to the pump manually.
Good luck with the T Slim

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Haha, Im a actually a farmer so thats great to know that those overalls will come in handy for my diabetes management!

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I have considered in the bib of my overall. Run the tubing up out the collar, stuff the pump into the bib

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At first its kinda new and in the way but very quickly it becomes just part of you and most of the time you don’t even notice it. Haven’t lost a nights sleep with it, except some times i roll on it but just toss it aside ( there very well made and not as fragile as you might think ) I swim with it tucked on the inside of my trunks, Bang nails, hike and fish. Most people do not even notice I have one. Long story short, It will only change your life for the better and alot better than MDI for sure. I felt the same way you do before I got mine but now I would never go back to MDI – Hope this helps :slightly_smiling_face:


My active 8yo son has been on a pump for 10 months, wears it rock climbing, mountain biking, running, skiing, hiking, camping etc. When you’re really active, wearing it somewhere it won’t bounce around helps, my son carries his in a SPI-belt during the day. If you’re not going to be running/jumping around then clipping it on a belt or putting it in a pocket would work fine.
Keeping the tubing tucked under clothing is important, he lost one infusion set in the early days getting hooked on a door handle, and a couple of weeks ago snapped the tubing coming out of the cartridge and pulled out the infusion set when he snagged the tubing on something in his classroom.

For sleeping he puts it in a pyjama pocket - mostly so we can find it in the night if he needs a correction or to suspend basal when going low. He does also roll around a lot in his sleep and has pulled out an infusion set that way when the pump has been loose in the bed. If you don’t move around much while sleeping, it’s fine just sitting in the bed beside you.

In terms of every-day back ups, keeping a a spare infusion set with you is handy in case you pull it out, it gets uncomfortable, stops working (for instance if you forgot to change it when you were supposed to) etc. If we’re going to be away from home overnight or longer, the amount of spares goes up, typically including a spare pump cartridge (& syringe to fill it) as well as spare infusion set, plus a insulin pen and some needles in case of pump failure. For longer trip (especially international) we will add a lantus pen as well.

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Thanks, is there a generally preferred cannula set, like steel plastic etc?

There’s a bunch of different infusion sets, your pump maker can send you samples. Use what works best for you.

I’ve always used an angled plastic/Teflon set 20+ years, but others like @Dave44 swear by metal.

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:slight_smile: I “swear by metal” because I imagine years ago I must have sworn at Teflon sets due to the substantial, repeated issues with, in no particular order:

  1. My skin would become red, swollen, irritated–I’d be left with a bump much of the time that took many days to resolve. That occurred with both the Sof Sets and Quick Sets.

  2. I’d get “tunneling” periodically. Not great for bg control!

  3. I had way too many older sets leak insulin, especially the Sof Sets. That would happen at the connector located a few inches away from the set. I also had external leakage from a few of the Quick Sets.

  4. And now we come to the biggest bugaboo: KINKED CANNULAS. I have always loved to pump and things got so bad with kinking that I seriously thought I was going to stop pumping. Credit the early internet with the wild-west-newsgroups, where someone suggested I try Sure-T’s, a set marketed for kids. I called Medtronic for samples, they quickly set out a few, and I was thrilled that I knew I was “back in business” with pumping! :slight_smile:


I also have only used a tubed pump because that was all we had back when I started. After a couple months, I learned how to move around door knobs and handles and door frames. I used a longer tube to give me some room before it got pulled out. Personal issue on length of tubing, some like more some like less.
I also just put it on my belt line or in a pocket or if I am running I would use a Velcro belt to put all my supplies in. These belts are very handy, many companies make them. I have seen people rock climbing, hiking, camping etc using these belts.
Even being intimate with my husband is not an issue. Early one when you couldn’t disconnect, we would sometimes get tangled up in the tubing. Oh, the things you can find funny. Now with the quick disconnect, you can disconnect. (Just don’t forget to put it back on!)


As @Dave44 says, metal sets are the most foolproof because they can’t kink, plus if you accidentally pull one out from the tubing you can just jab it back in. Aside from that though, I’m not aware of any evidence that they less prone to causing site irritation (which is very much a personal thing), tunnelling or leaking at the connector.
My son can’t stand the metal sets, they often developed a painful ache within 24 hours of insertion, or were like being jabbed with a pin whenever he placed any pressure on the site, and the adhesive would irritate his skin. Removing them was also painful (probably should have used something to dissolve the adhesive first). Since changing to the Autosoft 90 (aka Inset II, Minimed Mio) he hasn’t had any pain or site irritation at all.
Kinking is a real potential problem, but I’m fairly confident it’s related to user error (no offense intended @Dave44) as we had numerous kinked cannulas in the first few of months (May-July 19), and not a single one in the last 8 months.

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I sometimes get a similar ‘jabbing’ pain, if I’ve inserted my libre sensor on certain parts of my forearm.
What is tunnelling?

Tunneling is the unintended delivery of insulin from the infusion site to the skin surface following the outside of the cannula. This is often caused by an infusion site resisting absorption, a subsequent build-up of pressure of the pool of insulin at the cannula tip and that pressure forcing the insulin to create an errant path along the outside of the cannula to the skin surface.


I know you have said you are already in the works to get a pump. But I put off getting a pump because I didn’t want to mess with tubing. My endo showed me an Omnipod and where she was wearing it and sold…no tubing. I love my Omnipod!!!

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I hear you! An Omnipod is a major temptation no doubt, the Dash model would be available to me.
However I really would like to be able to use a DIY closed loop eventually, most likely AAPS, and unlike the older Omnipods via Riley Link, the Dash cannot be done just yet, apparently.
There do seem to be rumours this may change, and if it does, I really think Omnipod would trump my current choice of DanaRS.

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:slight_smile: None taken. I was able to use (despite the pain, swelling, etc) Sof sets and QS’s for a number of years before the kinking issue became all too frequent. I think my tissues took too much abuse from the irritation over the years of those infernal sets and that’s why the sets began kinking often (or tunneling). I’m glad you are having good luck with them, which is all that matters.

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I have to say as a former pumper I couldn’t be happier without it or more in control. I DID wear a pump for 15 years and believed I NEEDED it. With the new longer acting insulins it’s a different world. Granted I need to be very aware of my diet, I’m on 1 shot a day and no fast acting 90 % of the time. My last injection of fast acting was over 2 months ago.
BUT if you think that’s the way you will achieve balance you need to make friends with your pump. The negativity towards it will make your life miserable. I was there for a long time then I decided this was my current life line and that’s what was important. Think about what’s your reason for going on a pump and recognize this is for the best. If you’re going to be angry at the situation it’s going to take away from your life. The transition usually isn’t that bad, make the change over a long weekend or light work week so you can have down time and monitor closely.


How do people live with a tube day to day? I rotate about my abdomen using 43 inch tubing sets. I keep the pump (Tandem t:slim X2 with Control-IQ) in a cellphone case clipped to my belt. The 43" tubing lets me move the pump where I need to place it. Only problem is putting pump on my belt opposite the insertion site because it sometimes tangles in the button of my pants fly & zipper area.

How do you go to bed with it? The same cellphone case clips to the draw string gym shorts I wear to bed. I center the pump over my bellie button so I not sleeping on it.

Do you have to make sure you wear something practical to clip pump onto, or need deep pockets for pump to sit in? Again, I clip the pump on the outside of my belt. I do wear EMS/Fire/Rescue thigh pocket pants so I can carry three Sweet Tart candy roll sections for low BGs. I believe your pump should be visible (not hidden) for safety should EMS, etc need to care for you, everyone will know you are a pumper and treat you as a D.

How does it handle an active lifestyle? Fine, I have seen athletes and others wearing pumps along their belts. Women sometimes put the pump in their bra. I have seen this by one woman at a local fitness club doing HIIT (CrossFit) with her pump there.

What back up equipment should you carry, just in case? This depends on how far from home you are going to be. If I am going to be more than 1 hour from home, I take a ‘pumper emergency kit’ with the inventory listed in my pump book. I have added a few things like a sharpie and flashlight. I keep insulin pens (one long acting and one short acting) in case I need to revert to MDI because of pump failure. I keep a fully stocked second kit at my desk at work. Co-workers and work site nurses know about it have been read it about its contents. I also buy the long rolls of Sweet Tarts (27 pieces), break the rolls in to 9 piece thirds, put each third in zip lock bag from hobby store, leaving 9 piece/14.5 CHO rescue candies protected and available. I have those in pants pocket in small plastic box (chewing gum type), wife’s purse, glove box of our vehicles, drawer of beside stand, etc.

Any good resources to have a look at that may be useful for the transition from MDI? Pump manufacture websites, your prescriber - especially their pump trainer, other pumpers you may know/meet at work, church, or play. Biggest thing, stay on label.

Let us know how this turns out for you. Sharing what you decide and rationale, gives all of us more LIGHT for future actions. Cheers…