My Brother wants a pump!

My brother is 13 and has had Type 1 for nearly 7 years. He has just been offered the chance to have an instant pump start, something he has wanted for years! However, our mum does not seem to want him to have a pump. Despite us trying to persuade her otherwise, she believes it will cause more problems than it will solve, and does not seem to understand the long term advantages this opportunity will give my brother. She keeps making excuses, such as that because the pump is electronic, it is bound to fail.
I would really like some advice on how both myself, and my brother can try to persuade mum without seeming immature or rude. Getting a pump means a lot to my brother but mum usually sticks to her views once she has one.
greatly appreciated, thanks :)

Hi Smartie

So nice to hear you want to help your brother so much! I, thank god, have never had to have this argument. However, i can only encourage you two in fighting for that pump! It is the best thing that could happen to me, it made life so much easier. it is some hard work at first, but after that, for most of us, D-management does get easier!
Pump failure is a possibility, but if you are prepared, not a big problem IMHO.
Some points on you could persuade your mom:
There is nothing wrong in trying something out. A good endo i know always says, try something out, then judge. if it is not for you, thats perfectly fine, and it is very possible that a pump is not for your brother, but you never know before you havent tried it out for some time.
At the age of 13, i used to manage my diabetes almost on my own. I dont know how much your brother already does, but if he does some stuff on his own, then why has your mom still a saying in this ;) maybe you can build that one in into your discussion…
A pump can make a huge difference, in my opinion the biggest point. i do not know how i would have managed my diabetes throughout the teenage years, it gets so much more unpredictable during those times, with all those different hormones kicking in, so getting him on a pump could make a big difference. i dont know how i would have made it without my pump.

hope i could help you out a little bit, hang in there, my dear!!!
and, since your brother is 13 now, he is very welcome to join our community! :)
Take care

Thank you so much :) Me and my brother are quite close and I really would do anything to help him, especially with his diabetes! I will definitely use your points when talking to mum, maybe a first person example will help to persuade her ;) And Im sure he would love to join here, I will suggest it to him!
Thanks again, Smartie :)

if you, or your mom have any questions, feel free to message me…
Good luck!
And again, i really admire you for helping your brother so much! it is nice having someone there :)
I remember how my younger sister once, she was about 8 years old at that time, fed me out of a very severe low, i am still grateful for that. She just ran and got me sugar as i was not able to get some myself, and she saved me from worse for sure, as our parents werent there at the moment…
you are doing a great and very important job!!


Is there any chance of getting to trial a CGM? We recently got a Dexcom for my son, and he's been on MDI since diagnosed. We weren't in any hurry to move him to a pump.

But when we hooked him up to the Dexcom that all changed. It showed us what an awful mess of a job we'd been making of his blood sugars, that simply weren't showing in his HbA1Cs or the checks we were doing with his meter. It completely changed our management, and we can't wait to get on a pump now, because we realise it's basically impossible to do a great job of management without one.

Thank you :) I always try and help as much as I can, and I know that it makes my parents feel better as well :)

He had a trial with one about a year ago, and it was really helpful! I might bring this up to her actually, as even she admitted that the CGM made a positive difference to my brothers levels :)Thank you :)

If your brother is on MDI, using a long-acting (basal) insulin like Lantus or Levemir (short acting for meals and corrections) one thing that you can bring up is the flexibility of the basal rates with a pump. 1-2 injections of a long-acting insulin can't adapt to the changing needs due to just the time of day or day of the week. With a pump he can adjust his basal insulin for one rate during classroom time, and another for phys ed class, or after school sports. If he decides to go climb a mountain, he can lower his basal rate in advance of the climb. Pumps also allow for micro-doses. If all I need is 0.25 of a unit - that's all I get.
Does your brother do his own correction and meal dosing? If not, he could start, and start getting expertise in carb counting. That way he'll be ready for the pump.
I guess one last question would be is your mother intimidated by technology? A 13 year old boy would ace it. Sometimes I wish I had one around the house to teach me my smart phone.

Oooh, another idea. Has your brother had the opportunity to go to diabetes camp? Perhaps there he would get ideas as to how great pumps are from other campers, and during the times when the parents are there (drop off and pick up) your mother could talk to the other parents.

I think I would prepare a detailed plan of how your brother, with your help, could manage a pump. Read books like Pumping Insulin. Start calculating his initial basal and bolus rates. Explain how an emergency plan works, in case of pump failure. Commit to frequent testing. Show how corrections are made. Explain how the numbers are tweaked.
Of course, his doctor and team will work closely with all of this, but if you show your mother a roadmap, maybe you will calm her fears and let the two of you proceed.
You don't say if you are older or younger than your brother. It's possible your mother won't be able/willing to help with these things. It is a big step. But, I was on shots for 25 years and on the pump for 11 years, and I wouldn't go back for anything. Good luck.

I've had a pump for 5 years, two failures due to getting sweaty running and rained upon running. If it blows up, you go back to shots and they send you another one, like immediately. I was ***totally*** freaking out the first time it happened but it was really a piece of cake. Ok, it was a lot of carnitas since we were sort of partying that weekend but well, you know...

I love my pump, it's made it a lot easier. Other than a couple of quibbles, it's really worked pretty flawlessly, constantly and successfully for me.

Maybe you could have his endocrinologist (doctor) or a rep from the company of choice (Omnipod or Medtronic) talk to mom about the safety instead of just her kids.

I have no doubt that my brother would be able to control a pump, but I think that mum does feel slightly intimidated, I think she likes to feel completely in charge of the situation, and not have to rely on a machine. I will definitely tell her about the advantages of a pump with levemir! Thank you :)

Where we live, there aren't really many opportunities for things like diabetes camp. However, my brother's nurse organises a meet up for all the families she looks after every so often, and we have become good friends with a few other people from this group. One girl is my age and on a pump and I know that mum talks to her mum about it quite a lot :)

Im two years older than my brother so all this advice would be possible, an very helpful. Thank you very much :)

Thank you, Ill bring up how easy it is to get it sorted if the pump fails :)

Well mum has spoken to professionals before about the benefits of getting a pump and how everything would work, should he get one. I really think though that understanding exactly how much my brother wants it, by showing her how much effort we have put into trying to persuade her, may work more effectively :)

Here's another idea. On this website there is a forum for children with diabetes and that's where other parents share ideas. You might find help there too. And going to, the website for the American Diabetes Assn has a forum for parents. And I'm sure there are places where the question of to pump or not to pump has come up.
Another idea to discuss with your mum, is that it is likely a pump will help your brother manage his diabetes - he is growing up and will have to take over his diabetes. This will prepare him to be on his own as an adult.

Does your Mother realize that a pump can minimalize the wretched side effects of Diabetes? If you are failing to convince her on the basis of convenience, no painful MDI, instant control of levels, etc, Show her the results of long term excellent control vs MDI. Wouldn't she love to help her Son avoid loss of eyesight, liver and kidney damage, peripheral neuropathy, and help him to a longer and more healthy life? The earlier one attains maximum control, the better the outcome. Find some articles with information confirming how a pump can be a very positive control

Another idea. Checkout That website is known as the Diabetes Mall and is run by John Walsh, co-author of the bible for people with diabetes "Using Insulin" as well as "Pumping Insulin" Another book to get is Think Like a Pancreas" by Gary Scheiner. Actually, thinking like a pancreas is exactly what anyone with diabetes has to do, and a pump can make it much easier and accurate. Especially at his age - he can adjust things to suit his activities for the day. As an example, have one schedule for M-F when he is at school, and another for the weekend. He can also have different schedules programmed into the pump for the difference in insulin needs between sitting in the classroom, and after school sport.