The Story of Fred
Right now, our family consists of my husband, our two daughters, me, a dog, two frogs...and Fred. We couldn't survive without Fred. So are you wondering who Fred is?
He is my younger daughter's backpack. What is so special about a backpack? Well, Fred carries around my daughter's food and her feeding pump for her so that she can get her nutrition through her feeding tube. She is hooked up to feeds almost 24 hours per day, and Fred gives her the freedom to move around and play just like any other kid her age.
Fred was named by one of my daughter's home care aides. One day the aide said to me, "We should name her backpack something fun, like Fred," and after that, it stuck.
My daughter has become very attached to Fred, and it has made transitioning into the preschool years much easier. Not many preschoolers would want to be told they have to carry their food around all day and accept the hassle of being strapped to a backpack all the time. But we make it fun for my daughter. We say things like, "Come get Fred!" or "Fred needs you!" She introduces Fred to everyone. If someone asks what is in her backpack, she tells him or her it is Fred and he carries her food for her. When we make up her formula in the morning, she is standing there with Fred, ready and waiting.
My daughter got her first feeding tube (NG) when she was 14 months old. At the time, we were given an adult sized pump carrying bag. On our child who couldn't even stand alone yet, it was beyond ridiculous to have her use a bag that was bigger than she was! We resorted to keeping her in a playpen in the living room for most of the day so that she could get her feeds. If she wanted to crawl around, she had to drag her pump and tubing behind her, or one of us had to follow her everywhere and carry it.
Finally, one day I heard about super mini backpacks, and I called our insurance company and told them that my daughter was basically immobilized because of not being able to transport her pump around easily. We got our first Fred when my daughter was about 17 months old, and we have loved him ever since! We are so grateful that my daughter can get the nutrition she needs and still play like a typical little girl.