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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How to use a Zevex Enteralite Infinity pump bag for a gravity feed

To say that I'm excited about this wonderful little trick I just learned would be an understatement. I'm sure lots of other people already knew this but I'm going to share it anyway.
Gravity feeds are not my friend. Up until last week, I was doing Raya's bolus feeds with a 60ml syringe with the plunger removed. I can't tell you how many times Raya has accidentally (or on purpose) knocked it out of my hand and spilled it. Or how many times I've poured the formula in and unclamped the syringe and then had somebody knock on the door and I couldn't answer it. Then there was the time last week (and a couple times last spring) that I got impatient and let the formula run in a little too quick and she puked. And then there's the whole issue of feeding her when we're out of the house without accidentally spilling, etc. So yeah, gravity feeds have been a pain for me. UNTIL last week. Someone on one of my favorite facebook pages posted a link to a YouTube video (which I can no longer locate) about modifying a Zevex Enteralite Infinity pump bag so that it could be used to do a gravity feed. AAAAAAHHHHH! So great. Here's how to do it:
Locate the side of the tubing that has the little raindrop on it (the right side in this picture)

Pull the rubber tubing away from the hard plastic tube

Pull the rubber tube with the teardrop all the way off of the hard plastic tube

Use a sharp pair of scissors and snip off the tip of the hard plastic tube

Here's what it looks like after the tip has been clipped off
Reattach the rubber tubing, making sure to put it on tightly so it won't leak

Before plugging the pump set into the extension tube, prime the tubing with either water or formula and then plug the pump set in. If the formula doesn't start flowing on its own when the extension tube is unclamped, just put the cap on and give the bag a little squeeze.

Make sure there is either water or formula in the tubing and then connect it to the extension tube. Hang the bag on an IV pole or whatever else happens to be convenient

Then just let it run in. :) We give Raya something to nibble on while her tummy is filling up so that her brain can start making the connection between eating and feeling full. And it was 114 degrees today, which has nothing to do with gravity feeds.
  So there you have it. :)


  1. Great tip! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you so much! :) This was a life saver when his charger broke and the battery ran low at ~1:00 a.m. I'll update with how to tell what the flow rate is! I'm a student nurse so I just need to calculate that and I'll share the calculations with you!

  3. Okay, so the standard measurement for drops to ml is 20 drops. So if you are running a slow rate, say 60ml/hour, that is 1 ml/minute. This makes the calculation easy. You want ~ 20 drops every minute. If you want 80ml/hour, it gets a little harder, but not much. You would simply calculate like so: (80 ml/hr)/(60 min/hr) X 20 drops/ml. 80/60 = 1.33. Multiply 1.33 by 20 and you find that you need about 26.7 drops per minute, or approximately 27 drops per minute for that flow rate. The mls, and the hours should cancel each other out, so you are left with 27 drops/minute. The trick is then finding the right height to hang the bag such that the drops come out as you want them to. I just used the stop watch setting on my phone and counted the drops for 60 seconds, but you could do the same with a watch that has a second hand. The higher the bag from the tummy, the faster the flow rate; the lower, the slower. Hope this helps! I am using this for a continuous night feed, so it matters! :)

  4. This is looking like really useful information to me right now with my daughter's feeding pump giving us problems. My question is what extension are you using for the G-tube--the bolus extension or the right angle extension?

    1. From the looks of it, the extension we were using when I did this post was a right angle Y port, probably because that's what was already connected to her button. I would recommend trying both a right angle and a bolus to see what works best for you. I hope it helps!

    2. Thanks! We tried it with the right angle and it works perfectly. Our pump was giving us lots of problems so this post was perfect for us.

  5. THANKS SOOOO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS!!!! I could kiss you!! Happy Mama Dance!!! :)

  6. Is there a way to do the reverse of this? convert a gravity bag into a pump bag? Thanks


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