The breast pump is an invaluable invention that allows nursing moms to travel independently, avoid infection and be able to continue breastfeeding while in the workforce.
While the use of mechanical devices to extract breast milk dates back to ancient Greece, the earliest recorded breast pump patents in the U.S. appeared the mid-19th century. Fascination with the history of these inventions persists, as there are articles dedicated to tracing their roots and even antique breast pumps listed for sale on sites like Etsy.
Looking at older images of breast pumps, they seem rather outdated and yet in many ways, very familiar. We looked through photo archives and compiled a roundup of historical images and original designs of breast pumps.
Without further ado, here are 18 fascinating glimpses into their history. Modern mamas, be happy you don’t have to contend with some of these.