We think it’s a breast pump

Lamaze books, baby bonnet, and early breast pump.

We’ve put up a small exhibit in the Iowa Women’s Archives reading room in conjunction with our upcoming Women’s History Month event about the history of the Lamaze method of natural childbirth.  The exhibit includes several Lamaze books from the 1970s from the papers of Patricia Hillard, a leader in La Leche League International from the 1970s through the 1990s.  Also in the exhibit are a baby bonnet dating from the early 1900s, and an unusual glass breast pump.

The breast pump came to the Iowa Women’s Archives with various artifacts and historical records from the Heritage Room of the University of Iowa College of Nursing.  A tag accompanying the breast pump says that it was purchased in New Orleans in 1750.  If anyone knows how this early breast pump worked, we’d like to hear from you.