Ancient lamp or breastbowl?

I came across an article on the history of baby bottles.

Earlier this year, the Swiss museum Alimentarium had an exhibition on the history of baby bottles. Their article states:

"Antique feeding bottles, whether Etruscan, Hellenistic or Roman, retained a certain uniformity in terms of shape over a long period of time spanning thirteen centuries, from the 9th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D. Resembling small beakers with a handle, small enough to be held in the palm of the hand, they were a controversial subject for a long time. They were sometimes considered as feeding bottles but more frequently thought to be recipients used to fill up oil lamps, while glass bottles were thought to be vials for perfume. However, the results of analyses conducted during the 1990s on terracotta and glass feeding bottles confirmed the presence of saturated fatty acids that are only found in human or animal milk (stearic, capric, lauric and miristic acids), proving that these objects did in fact once contain milk. An experiment conducted by a young mother also demonstrated that, due to the shape and the presence of an opening on the top of the ceramic recipients, they may also have been used as a form of breast pump."

Women have been using 'breastbowls' for a long long time!

The experiment mentioned in the article might be described in more detail here:

Gérard Coulon, L’enfant en Gaule romaine, 1994, 2nd Edition, reviewed and expanded 2004.

Oil lamp or baby bottle?

Click here to see examples of modern breastbowls , beautiful bowls specifically designed to catch breast milk.


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