Eva May Watson-Doyle has had a difficult start to life after she was born prematurely at 26 weeks.
In her five short years, the little girl has suffered from chronic lung disease, heart failure, developmental and intellectual delays and was diagnosed with a genetic brain disorder known as Rett syndrome.
Her mother, Amy Watson, told news.com.au that despite the pain Eva had been through, her daughter was a “seriously amazing little girl.”
So, when Eva was forced to have a feeding tube inserted through her nose last month, her mother designed a hack to help her, which has since gone viral.
Amy said life with a chronically ill child can be stressful and required her to constantly think on her feet.
The mother and daughter duo have been struggling recently with Eva’s weight after she spent months in and out of hospital.
With every new health problem that doctors encounter, Eva’s eating habits suffer, and she loses alarming amounts of weight.
When this occurs, doctors are forced to insert feeding tubes to boost their little patient’s nutrition intakes.
Due to Eva’s developmental delays, she also struggles to do daily tasks like dress herself or brush her teeth, so her mum is always on hand to help in anyway she can.
“She’s always on the move, so I really have to keep my eyes on her at all times because her safety awareness is zero,” Amy said.
In recent weeks, Eva suffered complications with her lung disease and doctors told her mother she wasn’t eating enough and would need another feeding tube.
Two years ago, doctors surgically inserted a feeding tube — or peg — directly into Eva’s stomach to try to help her eat.
Her little girl’s experience with feeding tubes in the past, which are known to be extremely unpleasant for small children, meant Amy knew how distressing the experience was.
Amy was trying to think of a way to make her daughter’s feeding times — which occur twice a day — less stressful for her.
The extensive equipment connected to her feeding bags severely hinders Eva’s mobility.
“I knew how hard it was having the pump and all the cords, so I used to have to attach the feeding machine to her pram,” Amy said.
Now that Eva was older, with boundless amounts of energy, Amy said she was finding it harder than ever to get her to sit still and feed properly, so she had an idea to make her equipment more mobile.
Eva was fitted with a feeding tube through her nose and fixed to her face with bandaids. The tube is connected to a pump machine and bags of nutritional milk.
“We now have to carry this pump around, and I knew how hard it had been previously to keep her sitting long enough to feed her,” Amy said.
“So I thought I would try putting it in a bag.”
Amy purchased a shiny unicorn backpack from Kmart for $ 10 to help carry her equipment around with her at all times.
Amy now has three unicorn backpacks for her daughter’s pumps so she can wear them while she eats at school and home without feeling restricted.
To Amy’s amazement, her little girl was ecstatic with her shiny new gift.
“She has never been so excited to have her feed since we bought the bag,” Amy said.
“I love how excited Eva is to want to put on her bag and also how less stressful it is for her.”
Amy’s clever thinking has attracted support from people around the country, with thousands of Aussies liking the photos she posted of her daughter proudly showing off her backpack.
More than 4300 people liked her post, with hundreds more describing Amy’s idea as “the best Kmart hack ever”.
“Now that’s a hack well worth it, love that huge smile,” one woman wrote.
Others described Eva as a “happy little soul” with a smile “that melts your heart.”
Amy said she was blown away by the public response.
“I was in shock by the response of the public, I didn’t expect that at all,” she said.
She said the simple trick had paid off for her family.
“With the bag, you only see the feeding bag hanging, so it’s also less stressful for little miss,” she said.
“I would definitely recommend this to other ‘tubie’ families because of how much more normal the kids can feel without being restricted or left out.”
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