One day, out of nowhere, you get a diagnosis of T1D. You’re thrown into a world of sliding scales, carb counting, insulin injections, “free” snacks. You’re terrified of stacking insulin and all of the things that come with type 1 diabetes. You chug along, learning as you go. You start to get the hang of it. Things are falling into place. Yet, when you have questions, ones that have nothing to do with pumping, people tell you that you “need to get a pump”. So… what if you don’t want one?
(This post contains affiliate links that may be beneficial to families who deal with T1D)
When my son was diagnosed, everyone kept asking me when we were going to get an insulin pump. I didn’t even know what that was. I was just trying to muddle through the first days, weeks, and months with a newly diagnosed toddler.
Everything was so confusing and new.
Yet I kept getting the questions: when are you getting a pump? Which kind of pump will you get?
I had no idea.
We seemed to be doing ok with pen injections. He wasn’t fussing about his shots. I didn’t have a problem giving the injections.
Why should I worry about switching to an insulin pump?
“You can do T1D without an Insulin Pump”
By: Shelby Ivie, T1D Mom
Every day I see comments in T1 parents groups about how a pump is necessary to have good numbers and overall better control of T1D.
I get it… I truly do.
Your kiddo uses a pump and you love it; it works great for your child, and you want to tell everyone about it and how wonderful it is. That’s amazing! And this is fantastic information to share with fellow parents. So more power to ya!
What bothers me is the comments about how a pump is NECESSARY to have tight control. And the comments about how T1s will never see stability with injections? This blanket statement is completely false you guys.
Of course, it applies to some, but there are many T1s who do really well without a pump. My own child is MDI with zero interest in a pump, and he is very tightly controlled the majority of the time.
Afterall, a pump is just another way of administering insulin. And of course it has some great benefits that may really help some T1s, but there are benefits to MDI as well:
- Not having to wear a heavy and/or bulky device 24/7. Some people don’t want to be attached to devices all the time.
- Ease of sports and other activities that would require disconnecting a pump.
- The ability to be more discreet. Everyone at the beach doesn’t have to know you have diabetes because they can see your pump sites (or tan lines from old pump sites).
- No added risk of pump malfunctions, bent cannulas, or other complications that come with having an insulin pump.
As a community, we are telling new T1 parents that they won’t have this thing handled until they’re pumping. And that’s not OK.
Maybe their child doesn’t want a pump? Or maybe they do but can’t afford one?
There’s a lot of pressure from the T1 community to pump. There is also a lot of assumption that it’s the “next step” for everyone. And while pumping is a great option for many, its not for everyone and we need to remember that.
There’s more than one way to manage this disease and it’s certainly not “one-size-fits-all.”
T1D is a different journey for each person. The majority opinion isn’t always what is best for the individual.
Insulin pumps can be handy devices, but they aren’t for everyone. There are benefits to both pumping and MDI. The choice is a very personal one and there is no right or wrong answer.
There are also several different strategies for getting tighter numbers. Shelby and her son use Sugar Surfing:
Do you prefer pump or MDI? Tell us why in the comments! Don’t forget to check out the Carb Counting Mama Facebook page and “like” it for more T1D posts!