A Boost from the Pump

Breast pumps deserve some of the credit for boosting breastfeeding rates, which had fallen off through the 20th century. A far cry from the first manual version patented in 1854 (and the more sanitary, efficient mechanical pumps that replaced them in the 1920s), today’s portable models allow breastfeeding women to pump on the go. By the end of the 1980s, about half of US moms tried breastfeeding; by 2013, 80% did. For their role in shaping important public health history, the gadgets made our list of 100 Objects That Shaped Public Health.

Check GHN every Wednesday for an up-close look at one of the objects on the list, published by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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