The History of the Breast Pump

The History of the Breast PumpHow much do you know about the history of the breast pump? When were these items used for the first time and who needs to use them? What are the mechanical functions of these pumps and how should one use them and ensure that they have given their children clean breast milk? These and other questions are some of the issues that you may need to have clarified to you so that when you choose to use the breast pumps, then you will be using them from a point of knowledge.


A breast pump is a mechanical item that is used for the purpose of extracting milk from a lactating mother. These can either be manual devices or they can as well be powered by hand movements or foot movement. They can also be electrical such that they will be powered by batteries or even be powered by electricity.


The US Patent office is known to have issued the patent to O.H. Needham in 1854 for a breast pump. The first mechanical breast pump was made by the engineer and chess master Edward Lasker. This pump was an imitation of an action of infant sucking and this was considered to be a marked improvement of the manual pumps in existence at that time. Since this time, there has been improvement on the kind of breast pumps that have been produced so far. It is now possible to have breast pumps that are electric operated and this makes it easy and convenient for the mothers to pump milk and have their babies take this milk when the mother is out of the house.

How Does the Breast Pump work?

How exactly does this pump work such that it can get milk out of a mother’s breasts? Well, the work of the breast pump is not really to suction milk out of the breasts. It works in a different manner. But if we were to mechanically think about it, the breast pump is like a milking machine. This breast pump works by triggering the milk ejection response. It does not really suction milk from the breasts. What the breast pump does is to pull the nipple of the breast into the tunnel of the breast flange. It then releases the milk and this is known as one cycle. The best pumps should achieve thirty to sixty cycles every minute. However, the breast pump cannot be said to be as efficient in removing milk from the breasts as most of the nursing babies would do.

Types of pump mechanisms

There are many types of pump mechanisms from the manufacturers of these items. We shall take some time to discuss this:

  1. Piston pumps- these are the pumps that draw a piston through the cylinder so that they can then create suction. With these kinds of pumps, you can be sure that you will get a top of the range breast pumps. Some of their characteristic of these pumps is that they have a low speed and they are highly reliable.
  2. Rotary Vane Pumps– These uses retractable vanes so that they can create suction. They are not widely used as before.
  3. Diaphragm Pumps– these ones, just like the name suggests use a diaphragm. It is acted on by a lever which has thousand of cycles per minute. They will operate at higher speeds and they are usually noisy.

When one is choosing the best breast pump, they will need to look for the pumps that are good for their personal needs.