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April 26, 2022

Goat Suckling a Child in El Mojon, Teguise, Spain in 1958

The photograph was taken on February 14, 1958, in El Mojón, a fishing town in Teguise on the island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, Spain.

This mythical picture has been present in many hotel businesses on the island for decades. In it, Segunda Pérez Concepción is portrayed nursing Eduardo, the youngest of her 4 children and the only one who was fed by the goat.

In Wayland D. Hand’s 1976 book, “American Folk Medicine: A Symposium,” the author wrote that goats had been used as wet nurses around the world:
“Because milk does not keep well once it is separated from the animal and because the act of suckling was believed to aid digestion in infancy, medical writers beginning in the eighteenth century began to advocate nursing children directly at the udders of goats. Goats were easier to obtain and cheaper than human wet nurses; they were safer from disease and were better in many other respects. Although cows’ milk was almost exclusively used in early American infant feeding, William Potts Dewees, who wrote the first American pediatric treatise in 1825, called attention to animal milks and pointed out that the English praised asses’ milk; nevertheless, he preferred milk of goats. He then compared the chemical constituents of milk from cows, women, goats, asses, sheep, and mares. In 1816, Conrad A. Zwierlein, after listening to women at a fashionable European resort deploring their difficulties with wet nurses, wrote a book called, “The Goat as the Best and Most Agreeable Wet Nurse,” which he dedicated to vain and coquettish women, as well as to sick, tender, and weak ones. Goat feeding then became very popular for a while until it was attacked on various grounds and fell into disfavor. In 1879, it was revived in the children’s hospitals of Paris, especially for syphilitic infants.”


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