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Does the 1927 photo show baby feeding from goats udder? | My Baby My Star

On February 16, 2022 a new Reddit post was created in the subreddit r/interestingasfuck. It featured an image of a mother sitting on the floor of a house, holding a human baby while it suckled milk from a goat’s udder. The caption read: “Life in the country in 1927. When a woman was unable to breastfeed or died in childbirth because a nurse was unavailable, a goat nurse was brought in to save the life of the starving infant.”

A picture posted on Reddit reportedly showed a mother helping a baby feed from a goat's udder in 1927, in what has been described as rural homestead life.
Source: Reddit

The Reddit post took off quickly, earning well over 50,000 points. For any readers unfamiliar with Reddit, this meant it was one of the most popular posts of the day on the entire site.

We are on the trail of the origins of the photo. According to Spanish cheesemaker Quesería El Faro’s blog, it was taken in El Mojón on February 14, 1958, 31 years after the Reddit post claimed it was shot. El Mojón is a town in Teguise on the island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. The caption read: “Goat suckling a child, 1958, El Mojon, Teguise, Lanzarote.” The website also included the names of the mother and child:

This mythical photo has been present in many hotels on the island for decades. In it, Segunda Pérez Concepción is portrayed taking care of Eduardo, the youngest of her 4 children and the only one fed by the goat, and whom we have the privilege of knowing, so let’s tell with more affection the fabulous story of his childhood portrait.

The picture is framed on the wall of the cheese shop and showed what appeared to be a nativity scene on the left. One version of the photo showed a hand petting the goat while the mother held the feeding baby. The other one from r/interestingasfuck didn’t show the hand. This may be because more than one picture was taken or the photo was edited to remove the hand.

So the image of the mother holding the feeding child under the goat was real. Also, it’s true that there was a history of goats feeding babies and acting as nurses in earlier centuries, as the Reddit caption suggested.

In Wayland D. Hand’s 1976 book American Folk Medicine: A Symposium, the author wrote that goats were used as wet nurses around the world:

One of the earliest domesticated animals, the goat often served as a nurse for gods and heroes. Zeus and his descendants Dionysus, Asclepius, the god of medicine, and Aegisth, the Agamemnon slayer, are just a few. The goat symbolized the rich endowment with the good things in life, and Zeus rewarded the nymphs who cared for him with one of the horns of Amalthea, the goat who fed him. This is the Cornu Copeia, “cornucopia”. The Bedouin of Israel still reciprocate the use of goats or sheep when a human wet nurse is needed but unavailable, and the Anazeh goat tribe derives its name from the fact that its ancestor was raised on goat’s milk. The Hebrew Talmud attributes strength, endurance and courage to the goat and believes that milk fresh from the goat’s udder relieves heartache and that milk from a white goat has special healing properties. Goats as foster nurses have been observed worldwide. One observer saw how attached such a goat became to a Basuto child; another described Hottentots tying their infants under the goats’ bellies so that they could feed there.

Because milk does not keep well after separation from the animal, and because the act of sucking was believed to aid in digestion during infancy, medical authors began advocating breastfeeding infants directly from goats’ udders by the 18th century. Goats were easier to get and cheaper than human nurses; They were safer from disease and better in many ways. Although cow’s milk was used almost exclusively in early American infant feeding, William Potts Dewees, who wrote the first American pediatric treatise in 1825, drew attention to animal milk and pointed out that the English praised donkey milk; nevertheless, he preferred goat’s milk. He then compared the chemical components of milk from cows, women, goats, donkeys, sheep and mares. In 1816, after listening to women in a fashionable European resort bemoaning their difficulties with wet nurses, Conrad A. Zwierlein wrote a book entitled The Goat as the Best and Most Pleasant Wet Nurse, which he devoted to vain and flirtatious women, as well for the sick, the frail and the weak. Goat feeding then became very popular for a time until it was attacked and fell out of favor for various reasons. In 1879 it was revived in the children’s hospitals of Paris, especially for syphilitic infants.

It’s unclear how widespread the practice of using goats as wet nurses might have been in 1927 (the year referenced in the Reddit post) or at any point in the early 20th century.

In conclusion, the image of the mother letting the baby be fed by the goat udders was real. It was captured on the island of Lanzarote in 1958, not 1927.


Howler, Karin. “Why Goats Nursed Human Babies.” Washington Post

“Cabra amamantando a niño (Lanzarote, 1958).” Quesería El FaroFebruary 8, 2019,

Hand, Wayland D., Editors. American Folk Medicine: A Symposium. First edition, University of California Press, 1976.

Little Nele. “The goats of Lanzarote.” clinging to my wordAugust 3, 2017,

Usually_forever6482. “Life on a rural homestead in 1927. When a woman was unable to breastfeed or died in childbirth when a wet nurse was unavailable, a goat nurse was called in to save the lives of the starving infants.” R/interessantasfuck on Reddit02/16/2022

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