Breastfeeding and pumping have been an essential part of motherhood for… well, forever. 

At Larken, it’s at the core of what we do. We’ve set out to redesign age-old maternity wear to better function and comfort mom during these massive waves of change. Our company started with the Larken X, our patented nursing and hands-free pumping bra, after realizing traditional nursing bras were more of an inconvenience than an asset. 

As products, tips, and norms shift throughout generations, how has breastfeeding itself evolved over the years?


A First for Formula

After the start of wet nursing in the 1300s, the next breastfeeding shift happened in 1845, when the rubber nipple was created making it easier for babies to drink alternatives to breast milk. At the time that meant cow’s milk, until 1865 when the first infant formula was developed. Original infant formulas were made from cow’s milk, wheat flour, malt flour, and potassium bicarbonate. It wasn’t until 1924 when Similac was introduced as a formula closer to breast milk. In a sense, this is where the breastfeeding vs formula debate began. 

After innovations in formula, good-old-fashioned breastfeeding was starting to seem outdated. In 1956, many doctors would actually encourage mothers to stop nursing altogether or wean early. 


Pump it Up

The first manual breast pump was invented in 1854 by Orwell H. Needham. This early invention allowed breast milk to be expressed by bellows and flexible tubing. In 1923, along came the first electric breast pump, dubbed the Abt pump. Designed after a cow-milking machine (Chic, right?! Oh the glamor of motherhood) this pump was introduced to help feed premature infants in the hospital. 

In 1991, Medela started selling the first hospital-grade pump in an effort to allow working mothers to return to their jobs while continuing to feed their babies breastmilk. 


Free the (Nursing) Nipple

In the spirit of moms returning to work, it wasn’t until 2010 that one of the first breastfeeding laws came into effect, an amendment to the federal Fair labor Standards act requiring employers to provide private lactation spaces for their breastfeeding employees. 

Lastly, drumroll please… Can you believe that breastfeeding wasn’t legal in all 50 states until 2018!? Utah and Idaho legalized breastfeeding in public only a mere four years ago. 

While breastfeeding and nursing is a part of (literally) all of our lives, it continues to prove controversial! At Larken, we’re focused on simplifying breastfeeding essentials and bringing mom some well-deserved comfort while she brings a beautiful little babe into the world- however you choose to do so!