A good late 19th century brass breast pump in its velvet lined mahogany box. The glass cup was placed over the nipple and milk aspirated with the use of the brass pump.
These were common adjuncts to the Victorian household but in the absence of refrigeration were not used to store and feed to babies later, but for relief of congested breasts of mothers who did not want to breast feed.
In the late 18th and early 19th century the poor infant mortality associated with babies wet nursed in care homes resulted in maternal breast feeding being encouraged as a wholesome practice. The first artificial food formulas were introduced in 1867. Liebig’s “Soluble food for babies” from London containing wheat flour, cow milk, malt flour, and potassium bicarbonate as well as Nestles Milk Food in powdered from from Switzerland. In the following decades maternal breast feeding fell from fashion and artificial feeds were promoted by many doctors as beeing better alternatives to wet nursing.
- From the Phisick collection