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No, Sadhguru's claim of child gender based changes in breast milk is not completely unscientific

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Summary

There are many studies to back the two claims made by Sadhguru that 'Breastmilk changes to meet child's need and its different for both males and females'. However, so far, there is no clarity that mother’s breast milk is different in the case of twins with different needs, and more research is needed on this. 

Recently, a video of Jaggi Vasudev, Indian spiritual guru who is popularly known as Sadhguru is becoming a point of contention of social media. In the video, Sadhguru can be heard talking about mother’s milk and how a mother produces different “types of milk” from each breast if she gives birth to opposite-sex twins. 

The video surfaced on twitter when a page named 'Indian Atheists' targetted Sadhguru by sharing the video. 

Since then, the video is getting viral on twitter with similar claims. A twitter user named "Punster" posted on Twitter, "Sadhguru JV says, a mother's breast produces different kinds of milk depending upon whether the baby is a boy or girl. If they're twins (one boy, one girl) each breast produces a different kind of milk. Sadhguru JV has so much 'Gyan' that he thinks he's a 'gynecologist."

At the time of writing this article, this tweet was shared more than 500 times. 

All India Mahila Congress shared the video clip in which Sadhguru can be heard making contentious statements with a caption, "Why in the world all the godmen make absolutely absurd point around biological processes pertaining to a female body. After cooking bar during menstruation, @SadhguruJV tells that breast milk composition differs for male and female children. We offer to send a biology textbook!"

You can watch the video clip down below. 

 

The truth behind the claim

In the video, Sadhguru has primarily made three claims.

1) The mother’s breast milk adjusts itself for the child
2) The mother’s breast milk is different for males and females
3) The mother’s breast milk in the case of twins can be different in different breasts depending on the needs of each twin

Let's check the scientific validity of each claim one by one.

1) The mother’s breast milk adjusts itself for the child

Scientific studies have revealed that breast milk changes itself to meet the baby's needs. Breast milk not only changes in its quantity but also changes its color and flavor. The changes in breast milk is due to various factors like illness, the timing of the day and during feeding. 

2) The mother’s breast milk is different for males and females

A study done on 72 women in Kenya by Michigan State University and other institutions revealed that women with sons generally gave richer milk (2.8 percent fat compared with 1.4 percent for daughters).

Another study indicates that breast milk is dynamic and the concentration of breast milk content is not fixed. A number of tests suggest that levels of fat, protein, vitamins, sugars, minerals, and hormones vary enormously from mother to mother, and depending on the infant’s needs. Scientific evidence also suggests that milk made for female and male babies is consistently different.

Another study by Prof. Katie Hinde, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University showed that in rhesus monkeys, mothers produce milk with 35 percent more fat and protein for male babies, and even richer milk when the male was first-born. But, when mothers fed female babies, their milk was less fatty and had more calcium, probably to support the faster growth of their skeletons. Mothers produced more milk overall for females, and over the course of their breastfeeding, they received the same amount of fat as the males.

3) The mother’s breast milk in the case of twins can be different in different breasts depending on the needs of each twin

So far, there are no studies to prove this theory mentioned by Sadhguru. Satoshi Kanazawa an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science and his colleague Nancy Segal at California State University, Fullerton studied milk produced for opposite sex (OS) twins to tackle the gender-specific milk debate.

They indicated that if mothers were tailoring milk production to optimize the growth and development of boys or girls, mothers of opposite-sex twins would be in a biological pickle—they could not simultaneously produce milk tailored for a boy and a girl. Milk for opposite twins could either be tailored for one sex or for neither sex.

The analysis demonstrated that the same-sex (SS) twins were taller and bigger than opposite sex breastfed twins explained Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa. However, to confirm if breastfeeding was causing the advantage enjoyed by SS over OS twins, the researchers tested if the advantage would disappear when you take breastfeeding away. When the data were analyzed to compare never breastfed twin pairs, no significant differences were found in body size between same-sex and opposite-sex twins. In fact, SS twins tended to be slightly shorter and lighter than opposite-twins.

Scientifically, there is no direct clarity on this and more research is needed, to confirm the presence of sex bias in human breast milk and the differences in the quality of breast milk in accordance with the conditions of the parents.

Clearly, there are many studies to back the two claims made by Sadhguru that 'Breastmilk changes to meet child's need and its different for both males and females'. However, so far, there is no clarity that mother’s breast milk is different in the case of twins with different needs, and more research is needed on this. 

It should be noted that how some people choose to make fun of these scientific facts if it comes from an Indian spiritual Guru. Sadhguru has spoken facts that have always been present in Indian traditional wisdom. 

References:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235750233_Brief_Communication_Daughter_Dearest_Sex-Biased_Calcium_in_Mother's_Milk_Among_Rhesus_Macaques

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/24346987_Richer_Milk_for_Sons_but_More_Milk_for_Daughters_Sex-Biased_Investment_during_Lactation_Varies_with_Maternal_Life_History_in_Rhesus_Macaques

Note: The article was updated to add references and modify the headline. Earlier, the title was "No, Sadhguru's claim of child gender-based changes in breast milk is not unscientific".

Note: You can reach out to us at facthunt.in[at]gmail dot com if you find any issue with our articles.

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