Tube Feeding: How to Use an Enteral Backpack

Amy Long Carrera, MS, RD, CNSC, CWCMS
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
02/07/14  11:28 PM PST
How to Use an Enteral Backpack

An enteral backpack is a special backpack designed to carry a feeding pump, formula and related supplies. This allows you to take your nutrition with you to school, doctor visits or wherever you go without being connected to an IV pole. In this article, we discuss the setting up of and how to use an enteral backback.

Step 1                   Inserting the Feeding Bag

Set the backpack on a stable surface, with the front of the backpack facing you. Unzip each section of the backpack.

*If you are using a 500-mL feeding bag: Place the bag in the first large section of the backpack. Note that there are three sets of Velcro straps in this section of the backpack.

Thread the end of the tubing through the middle set of Velcro straps, and through the hole on the bottom, toward the back of the backpack. The end of the tubing should exit the back of the backpack.

Fig 2 Instructions

*If you are using a 1,200-mL bag, place the bag in the largest section, to the rear, of the backpack. Thread the end of the tubing through the Velcro straps on the bottom, and out the back of the backpack. Thread the cassette through the hole toward you until it sits in the pump section.

Fig 3 Instructions

Step 2                   Securing the Feeding Bag in the backpack

Squeeze any air out of the feeding bag and pour desired amount of formula into the bag. Close it tightly.

Secure the neck of the feeding bag with the Velcro strap inside the backpack. Secure the handle of the bag with the inner metal clip.

An ice pack can be inserted in the backpack next to the bag on hot days if needed.

Step 3                   Inserting the Pump into the Backpack

Lay the backpack down, with the front of the backpack facing toward you. Load the cassette into the pump and close the door. Prime the tubing per pump instructions and set the pump to the desired setting. Secure the pump in the front section of the backpack with the Velcro straps. Be sure that the pump fits snugly. Close all sections of the backpack, using the zippers.

Fig 4 Instructions

Step 4                   Making the Backpack Comfortable and Secure

Adjust the shoulder straps according to the wearer’s comfort. Use the abdomen strap to secure the backpack around the wearer’s waist.

Click here to see Shield HealthCare’s YouTube Video, Tube Feeding: How to Use an Enteral Backpack.

Click here to download a PDF of these instructions with pictures in English/Spanish.

This information is for educational purposes only and does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care professional. If you have questions about your health, please contact your health care professional.

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  1. I’m also curious about backpacks for adults. All I can find online refer to children as does the link you shared above. Do you have to have a pump for the backpack? My husband has always used gravity bags but when we travel, it makes it difficult to find a place where he can get his nutrition. I’d like more information on backpacks for adults.

    1. Hi Connie. Thanks for question. I’ve spoken to our RD and she let me know that, as far as she’s been told, there is only one size of enteral backpack – the small size we talk about here. There may be custom bags out there made for adults – you never know. If you do find them, feel free to let us know. Thanks! -Aimee, Shield HealthCare

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