By TreeLiving Pregnant women often find it hard to decide whether or not to breastfeed. At times a lactating mother may also wonder about the actual benefits of breastfeeding. It needs to be understood that a mother’s milk is uniquely important and safe for her infant. It is easy to digest and contains more than 200 components that babies require in the early months of life. The components of breast milk prot ect infants from a wide variety of illnesses and infections including diarrhea, ear infections, meningitis and respiratory infections. It also acts as a protective shield against allergies, asthma, and babies who get breastfed have less risk of becoming overweight or obese in their growing years. Research has also shown that children who had been breastfed had higher IQs than the ones who were fed cow's milk or commercial mixtures. Want to know more about the benefits of breastfeeding? Here are a few facts that you may not be aware of: Breastfeeding Can Saves Lives • Lack of breastfeeding exposes babies to higher risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome. • Mother's milk acts as a guard against life-threatening gastrointestinal diseases for babies. Healthier Babies • Breastfeeding reduces the incidence and severity of life threatening infections like pneumonia. • Breastfeeding protects infants against infant botulism. • Studies show that exclusive breastfeeding for at least two months after birth protects babies against Type 1 insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (DDM). • Breastfeeding can lessen the risk for subsequent inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and also childhood cancers. Breastfeeding is good not only for infants but also for the lactating mother. It helps the uterus to shrink to its pre-pregnancy state and also reduces the amount of blood lost after delivery. Mothers who breastfeed for at least 3 months have shown to lose more weight than the ones who chose to feed commercially prepared milk formulas to their babies. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding makes the life of a young mother easy – it saves time and money. She does not have to purchase, measure, and mix formulas in the earliest months of motherhood! A mother can instantly satiate her baby’s hunger and can enjoy some very personal moments with her baby. Breastfeeding not only helps babies stay fit and safeguard them against numerous illnesses, it also saves on health care costs. Breastfed infants typically require less Doctor visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations. Though it may seem a bit preposterous to some, the fact is that breastfeeding is also an environmental friendly practice as there is less trash and plastic waste produced by used formula cans and bottle supplies. Further, commercial preparation of infant formula consumes loads of fossil fuels and creates harmful byproducts that pollute the atmosphere. So in a way, by choosing to breast feed their babies, mothers not only do well for their babies’ and their own health but also for the planet.