It's Only Natural — Mother's Love. Mother's Milk.

It's Minority Health Month! Are you ready for some good news? Breastfeeding rates in the African-American community are on the rise! Sixty-two percent of African-American babies born in 2010 were ever breastfeed — that's up from 47 percent in 2000. Since breastfeeding helps babies and moms fight disease (and saves families up to $1500 each year), OWH is committed to continuing increasing the rate of breastfed babies and helping all families understand the benefits of breastfeeding.

This month, we mark an important anniversary — one year ago, OWH launched It's Only Natural to help African-American women and their families understand the health benefits of breastfeeding. And the list of benefits is long! For baby, breastfeeding reduces the risk of developing illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, and sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. Babies who breastfeed also have fewer ear and lower respiratory infections. Breastfeeding benefits moms, too. Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of health problems such as breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and postpartum depression. The It's Only Natural website has tips and resources specifically designed to help African-American women start breastfeeding.

As a mom who breastfed my children, I know how rewarding it is — but it can be hard to get started. That's what makes It's Only Natural so important. Women who visit It's Only Natural will find tips for fitting breastfeeding into daily life, video testimonies from women who breastfeed, answers to common questions and misconceptions, ideas for overcoming challenges, and more. Once I got started, it was so much easier than having to fix the bottles and prepare everything before leaving the house. And most of all, I treasured the special bond with my babies.

Whether you're pregnant, a new mom or dad, or planning for the future, visit It's Only Natural for breastfeeding inspiration and encouragement.

For more information and to read research on breastfeeding, visit Datasets and Related Documentation for the National Immunization Survey, 2009 and Prior, Datasets and Related Documentation for the National Immunization Survey, 2010 to Present, and The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, 2011.