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Journal of Perinatal Medicine

Official Journal of the World Association of Perinatal Medicine

Editor-in-Chief: Dudenhausen, Joachim W.

Editorial Board Member: / Bancalari, Eduardo / Milner, Anne / Genc, Mehmet R. / Chervenak, Frank A. / Chappelle, Joseph / Bergmann, Renate L. / Bernardes, J.F. / Bevilacqua, G. / Blickstein, Isaac / Cabero Roura, Luis / Carbonell-Estrany, Xavier / Carrera, Jose M. / D`Addario, Vincenzo / D'Alton, MD, Mary E. / Dimitrou, G. / Grunebaum, Amos / Hentschel, Roland / Köpcke, W. / Kawabata, Ichiro / Keirse, Marc J.N.C. / Kurjak M.D., Asim / Lee, Ben H. / Levene, Malcolm / Lockwood, Charles J. / Marsal, Karel / Makatsariya, Alexander / Nishida, Hiroshi / Papp, Zoltán / Pejaver, Ranjan Kumar / Pooh, Ritsuko K. / Romero, Roberto / Saugstad, Ola D. / Schenker, Joseph G. / Sen, Cihat / Seri, Istvan / Vetter, Klaus / Winn, Hung N. / Young, Bruce K. / Zimmermann, Roland

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In This Section
Volume 40, Issue 6 (Nov 2012)


Guttus, tiralatte and téterelle: a history of breast pumps

Michael Obladen
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Neonatology, Charité University Medicine, Berlin, Germany
  • Email:
Published Online: 2012-08-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jpm-2012-0120


Breast pumps have been used since antiquity, and their form has changed with the available material. The ancient Greeks used the ceramic guttus type, both to empty the breast and feed the infant. The Romans invented glass milk-extractors, sucked by the mother herself to elevate retracted nipples. Devices in the form of a smoking pipe were in widespread use when corsets had caused an epidemic of flat nipples in the 17th century. In the 19th century, vessels to be sucked both by mother and infant were developed to facilitate breastfeeding for preterm infants. When from 1870 the role of pathogenic bacteria became known, easy and thorough cleaning became an important feature of breast pumps. The 20th century sexualized the female breast to such a degree that its nourishing function was threatened. Electric pumps, developed at the beginning of the 20th century for hospital use, found a large private market when breast feeding in public was no longer tolerated. Today, breast pumps are mainly used to enable breastfeeding mothers to return to work.

Keywords: Breast pump; feeding; infant; premature

About the article

Corresponding author: Professor Michael Obladen Department of Neonatology Charité University Medicine Berlin Augustenburger Platz 1 13353 Berlin Germany Tel.: +49 30 (0)30 450566122 Fax: +49 30 (0)30 450566922

Received: 2012-05-22

Revised: 2012-06-15

Accepted: 2012-07-13

Published Online: 2012-08-11

Published in Print: 2012-11-01

Citation Information: , ISSN (Online) 1619-3997, ISSN (Print) 0300-5577, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jpm-2012-0120. Export Citation

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