Breast pump, manual, 'Coronet Brand', glass / rubber / paper / cardboard, Australia, 1947.
Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast usually caused by a bacterial infection through damaged nipples. It often develops when a mother is breast-feeding, about a month after the baby is born. For some women this is the signal to wean the baby off the breast and put her (or him) on the bottle. Others endure the pain in order to continue breast feeding, often with the aid of some kind of breast pump to express her milk, so that it can be fed to the baby via a bottle until her nipples heal.
Mrs Dorothy Foley and her husband William lived in the Sydney suburb of Belmore when they had their first (and only) child, William, in 1947. Mrs Foley bought this 'Coronet brand' breast reliever when she developed mastitis while feeding her baby. That was a time when it was usual for mothers to breastfeed for a long time. As Mrs Foley says, "We never thought about giving bottles in those days because we were stay-at-home mothers". Eventually the breast infection subsided and Mrs Foley went on to feed her baby successfully for nine months.
Notes of telephone conversation between Mrs Dorothy Foley and Megan Hicks, curator of health and medicine, 4 March 2003 (on file).
Concise Medical Dictionary, 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, 1989.
According to the text on the label, this is a 'Coronet Brand' breast reliever, Made in Australia.
According to the donor, the breast reliever was purchased in 1947, the year her son was born.
The breast reliever was purchased and used by the donor, Mrs Dorothy Foley of Belmore, in 1947. It was donated to the Powerhouse when she was doing a clean-out in 2003.