Beeswax nipple shield, Europe, 1701-1900

Made:
1701-1900 in Europe
maker:
Unknown
Left hand side: A124876, Wooden nipple shield.
      Right hand side, A606832/1, One of two beeswax nipple

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Left hand side: A124876, Wooden nipple shield. Right hand side, A606832/1, One of two beeswax nipple
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

One of two beeswax nipple shields

Nipple shields protect nipples from teething babies. They also soothe sore nipples of breastfeeding mothers. They prevent nipples from flattening, contain leaking milk and help women who had trouble breastfeeding.

This beeswax example of a nipple shield, seen on the right, is alongside a wooden one (A124876) on the left. It is for protection rather than feeding because it has no holes through which milk could pass. Doctors of this period advised breastfeeding was best for infants. They said babies should be breastfed by the mother if possible or a wet nurse. Dried milk and condensed milk were introduced in the 1860s. However, doctors claimed dried milk caused diarrhoea, indigestion and rickets when fed to babies.

Details

Category:
Nursing & Hospital Furnishings
Object Number:
A606832/1
type:
nipple shield
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment