Breast Pump, c.1771-1830

breast pump

For wealthy mothers of two centuries ago, this hand powered breast pump was an alternative to natural breastfeeding. The Science Museum doesn't describe it in detail, but I'd guess that the knob at the top can be pulled out to induce suction. Do you think it would work?

Link | Photo: Science Museum of London

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The pump would probably be used in a horizontal orientation with cupped glass opening placed around the nipple. The pump (the handle is at the top in the pic) would be pulled out and pushed in to create the suction action. (Modern breast pumps create a suck then release action, like a baby would.) The milk would be collected in the side of the glass bowl and then could be poured out. It looks like the nozzle of the pump is curved so that it could point up during use to keep it out of the collected milk. It would probably work.
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