Taking a Break From Your Insulin Pump – What You Need to Know, A Guide

Posted October 16, 2020 by Clint Kelly - See Editorial Guidelines

Are you using an insulin pump, but are getting burnt out? It might be time for you to take a break from your insulin pump. A vacation from your pump is a great way to help you deal with burn out and renew your energy and focus for taking care of your diabetes condition.

So, in this article, we will discuss why you might take a break from your insulin pump and things to consider. Here is a quick answer to get us started.

Taking a Break From Your Insulin Pump: Many type 1 diabetes patients and some with type 2 diabetes use insulin pumps to control their condition. However, having a device attached to your body constantly can cause frustration and burn out. So, taking a break from the pump can provide you with some much-needed relief. When taking a break from your insulin pump, though, there are many things to consider. For example, do you know the ratio for transferring your insulin dosages over to multiple daily injections?

With this quick answer in mind, let’s get into the specifics you need to know.

Why You Might Take a Break From Your Insulin Pump

There are a few reasons a person may want to take a break from their insulin pump. The first could be just being burnt out, having it constantly attached to your body.

Taking a Break From Your Insulin Pump

I know from my personal use of a pump that having something attached to your body at all times can be very irritating. There are times where it may get ripped off, or the pump just malfunctions. Being burnt out from the constant use of an insulin pump is real and should be addressed. It can lead to a lot of frustration that can impact our hormone levels, thus impacting blood sugar levels. Beyond this, the frustration can pour into our personal lives affecting our closest relationships.

Another reason that may call for an insulin pump vacation is if you are actually going on vacation. Whether traveling to relax or to do something active that may cause the pump to be a problem, patients may opt to go without it. This may be particularly true of going on a tropical vacation where you might be planning to wear a bathing suit. Many people are uncomfortable with their pump being visible to everyone on the beach. Not to mention that the combination of sand, water, and sunscreen can cause pump problems.

Lastly, a break from your insulin pump could be needed if you have overused pump sites. There are a limited number of places an individual can place the pump on their body. So, the skin around the sites they use can become irritated, thickened, and bruised. When this happens, the absorption of insulin can be affected, leading to uncontrolled blood sugar levels. When a person uses insulin pens and injects multiple times a day, they can be more precise with where they inject. Therefore, the skin around the pump sites has a break to heal.

What You Need to Do

Before taking a break from your insulin pump, there are a few things you need to do and consider. You cannot simply take your pump off and expect to keep stable blood sugars without some precautions. So, here is a list of things you will want to do.

Talk to Your Doctor

Before taking a break from your pump, you must talk to your doctor. Your doctor will be able to give you advice and discuss the potential risk with you. They need to know about any changes to your treatment plan so that they can monitor your health and know what is working. If a few days go by, and you notice your blood sugars are off, you can quickly call your doctor, and they can help make some minor adjustments that provide better control.

Have the Right Supplies

Before taking a pump vacation, it is crucial that you make sure you have the right supplies. If you go off your pump, then you will need to make multiple daily injections. Therefore, you will either need syringes to go with a vial of insulin or insulin pens with the appropriate needles. Those with type 1 diabetes will require two different types of insulin – rapid-acting and long-acting. So, make sure you have the prescriptions you need and have stocked up on the supplies that you need.

Know Your Ratios

Taking a Break From Your Insulin Pump

When using an insulin pump, you have a basal rate and an insulin-to-carb ratio. The basal rate replaces the need for long-acting insulin. So, when taking a break from your pump, the long-acting insulin dose you need may not be the exact same as your daily basal rate. Your insulin-to-carb ratio may also need to be adjusted slightly. Your doctor will look over your insulin pump data and determine what ratios you need to follow while stepping away from the pump.

Track Your Data

An insulin pump will normally track all your data while using it. This includes insulin dosages, blood sugar entries, and any corrections you have made. The data allows you to make treatment decisions. It is suggested that you find a way to track all of this data while taking a break from your pump. You can use a notebook or an app on your phone to easily plug in the data that is essential for you to know.

Choose the Right Time

It is important that you carefully consider the time in which you take a break from your insulin pump. Yes, the insulin pump can be invasive and seem like a hindrance at times, but it is still one of the best treatment options for diabetes. So, make sure that the break you are taking is during a time and place where you can perform the multiple injections you need.

Offsetting Dawn Phenomenon

The dawn phenomenon is something that many diabetes patients struggle with. It occurs is when your blood sugar levels begin to spike early in the morning due to the release of hormones. An insulin pump can automatically offset this phenomenon, but multiple daily injections make it more difficult to control. Patients can discuss options with their doctor. You may need to adjust the time you take your long-acting insulin. Avoid having late-night snacks or meals, and sticking to consistent mealtimes can help prevent the dawn phenomenon from having a major effect on you.

Reconnecting Your Insulin Pump

When it is time to reconnect your insulin pump, consult your doctor. Your doctor may need to adjust your dosages and ratios again. Some of this may depend on your blood sugar levels while on break from your insulin pump.

When you reconnect your pump, it is essential that it is done 24 hours after your last long-acting insulin injection. Reconnecting your pump before the 24 hours is up can result in extra, unneeded insulin, leading to hypoglycemia.

Make sure that you have everything you need for your insulin pump, such as enough infusion sets, insulin cartridges, and insulin vials.


We hope this article has prepared you to take a break from your insulin pump. Feel free to bring this topic up to your doctor. They are there to help you find the best way to manage your condition.

If you are paying more than $50 a month for your insulin or other prescription drugs, then Prescription Hope can save you money. We work directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide patients with the medicine they need at a set, affordable cost. Enroll with us and start paying just $50 a month for each prescription medication.

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