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Sucking Glass

1770 to 1790
Origin: England
OL:11 3/4"OH:3 1/2" DIAM: 2 7/8"
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1991-3
Globular, flat-bottomed receptacle with wide lip, to which a thin, straw-like tube has been applied on the side (this tube is the method for applying suction). The receptacle has a pontil mark on the bottom.
Label:Devices such as this were used to express milk from nursing mothers so that it could be fed to babies using other types of feeding devices. This was sometimes necessary due to the illness of the mother or the baby. The flat-lipped end of the glass is held to the woman's breast and suction is applied via the tube. The suction compresses the breast (mimicking the suction the baby uses), and the milk is released from the milk ducts in the breast and is collected in the bell-shaped portion of the glass. Once the milk is expressed and collected, it can be poured into a feeding bottle or other feeding device and then fed to the baby.