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Digital Images

'Tire-lait' or breast reliever, Europe, 1701-1800

Science Museum, London

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view 'Tire-lait' or breast reliever, Europe, 1701-1800


Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Credit: 'Tire-lait' or breast reliever, Europe, 1701-1800. Credit: Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

About this work


This breast reliever is known as a ‘tire-lait’ and is French for breast pump. Mothers used breast pumps, or relievers, to remove their milk. These mothers could not breastfeed their babies. This glass example consists of a cup with a small hole in the top. The nipple was placed in the hole to collect the milk. The milk was then fed to the baby via a bottle. Doctors of the period said babies should be breastfed by the mother if possible, or a wet nurse of ‘good moral character’. Babies during the 1800s might also be fed unboiled cow’s milk, a sugar and water mix from a bottle, or mixtures of milk and sugar with either bread or flour from vessels called pap boats. maker: Unknown maker Place made: Europe


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