Can you introduce yourself.
I’m Martina, I’m a mum of 3 from
Essex. I have a 10yr old, 8yr old and a 4yr old (who is my Tubie)
I also run a website called www.tubiedoodles.co.uk
How did tubie doodles start?
Started December 2016 but launched officially after testing may 2017.
It began after having a daughter who was born with a rare medical condition in July 2016 and she required the help of a NG tube and a Nasopharyngeal Airway which looked quite harsh and people used to make rude comments or stare. I wanted something that would make it look nicer rather than the trachy holder and lots of tape over her cheeks. So I began experimenting and it worked and while sitting in Great Ormond Street during my daughters sleep study plans were put in place to see if others would like to benefit from something colourful, fun and less medical. And so Tubie doodles was formed.
When did tubie doodles make their first sale?
What’s the best part about running tubie doodles?
Seeing how people embrace the tube life and smile about the items as it can be so overwhelming with the feeds, medications and issues. I feel the fact my daughter has had a tube means I get it - how life is and what comes with having a tube fed child - feeds, meds,
Reflux, Medical issues, the equipment etc!
I’ve added to my business since we started too as my customers ask if we can provide something else to help make life easier and I try to fulfil that if I can!
What’s the hardest part about running tubie doodles?
Trying to fit it around tube life at times. With the appointments/feeds/cares and operations recovery. My daughter had two surgeries in 4 months the last one was just before lockdown and recovery period means business has to slow down as she needs me. I am a one woman business - my husband works long hours in London so I get what I can done while the kids are at school or in the evening when he can do the last feed of the night.
But I hope my customers are understanding over that as they have the same commitments.
What have you learnt since the birth of your daughter?
I’ve learnt so much!!! I’ve changed as a person! I’m aware of so much more, I’ve learnt how to fight for my daughters needs, to help others, that I can do things I never ever thought I could or would be asked to do! I’ve made friends for life that I would never ever have met had it not been for her! I owe her so much - including this business - and I will be forever grateful! No it’s not easy - I’ve cried and been sad and angry over what she’s been through (and at times how many tubes I’ve had to replace because she pulled them) but Tubie Doodles is an extension of her - it’s me giving something back to others! I hope people know my inbox is always open as days can be long and it’s nice to have someone who understands!
Do you feel people understand tube feeding?
No - I think there is more awareness yes but I think more should be done to highlight there are many reasons for tube feeding - not just preemies or people with cancer.
What do you think could be done to raise awareness?
More awareness on traditional media, even with midwives etc - not to scare but to inform. With having two full term pregnancies never did I expect to have a poorly child let alone with
What are your favourite inclusive brands?
Pyjama fairies - I’ve got them for each time my daughter has surgeries
Do you have any advice for families starting their journey with disabilities and or tube feeding...
It’s ok to have the down days BUT there will be so many smiles and good times/memories. And you cannot be a superhero - sometimes you need to see what you have achieved that day rather than what you haven’t! Take that time to sit and read with siblings or to cuddle your Tubie to sleep!
Finally you are your child’s advocate and you know them better than anyone!