History of the Breast Pump

The history of the breast pump: I don’t think I’ve ever spent so long on a post 😂. Yes, I’m a nerd but I find this so fascinating!!

Pumps have come such a long way! Extracting milk has been around since Ancient Greece. Then patents for mechanical breast pumps were being filed in the mid-1800’s. It was so interesting reading through these patents!

It was saying that in the beginning, pumping was marketed as “works of mercy for afflicted mothers who suffered from the pain of engorgement, had inverted nipples, or had babies who were too small, sick, or weak to nurse effectively.” Works of mercy 😳. Also, reading through the language of the 1800’s patents takes a lot of brain power 😂.

After lots of trial and error and many different breast pump mechanisms, in 1956, Einar Egnell, a Swedish engineer, invented the modern-day breast pump. This pump was eventually acquired by Ameda and marketed to the world. Egnell studied different methods of human milk extraction and realized that intermittent suction (rather than continuous) was better because it was more efficient, there was less breast tissue injury, and it more closely mimicked a baby suckling.

You can see how each patent and advancement built upon one another and thank goodness for these inventions because those ancient pumps look PAINFUL!

These above are all of the pumps that I’ve owned and used. And there are SO MANY more pumps out there. If you’re wondering which pump is best for you, it really depends on what reason you’ll be pumping for. Some people only need a manual breast pump for very occasional use or some people need a hospital-grade double electric pump for exclusively pumping. And there are many pumps in between and depending on your preferences and needs, there is likely a great pump for you!