Find thousands of books, manuscripts, visual materials and unpublished archives from our collections, many of them with free online access.

Breast reliever, London, England, 1870-1901

Science Museum, London
  • Digital Images
  • Online

Available online

view Breast reliever, London, England, 1870-1901


Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
You can use this work for any purpose, including commercial uses, without restriction under copyright law. You should also provide attribution to the original work, source and licence.
Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) terms and conditions
Credit: Breast reliever, London, England, 1870-1901. Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Selected images from this work

About this work


A mother who had trouble naturally breastfeeding her baby removed her milk using a breast reliever. They were also used by mothers to feed their child when breastfeeding was difficult, such as a long journey. This reliever is made of glass and rubber. It used a siphon to draw off the milk. The milk was then fed to the baby via a bottle. The reliever was made by S. Maw Son & Thompson of London. Doctors advised breastfeeding was best for infants. It should be done by the mother if possible, or a wet nurse of ‘good moral character’. However, many babies of the period were fed less healthy things. These included unboiled cow's milk, sugar water, or ‘pap’. Pap was a mixture of bread or flour, milk and sugar from pap boats. Dried milk and condensed milk were introduced in the 1860s. However, doctors claimed they caused diarrhoea, indigestion and rickets in babies. maker: S Maw, Son & Thompson Place made: London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom

Permanent link