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Breastfeeding Fact Sheet: Nepal | Public Health Update
Home Fact Sheet Breastfeeding Fact Sheet: Nepal

NDHS 2016

  • Breastfeeding is very common in Nepal with 99% of children ever breastfed.
  • More than half (55%) of children are breastfed within the first hour of life.
  • Three in ten children who were ever breastfed received a prelactal feed, though this is not recommended.
  • WHO recommends that children receive nothing but breastmilk (exclusive breastfeeding) for the first six months of life.
  • Two-thirds of children under six months are exclusively breastfed. Children under three breastfeed for an average of 30.5 months and are exclusively breastfed for 4.3 months.
  • Complementary foods should be introduced when a child is six months old to reduce the risk of malnutrition.
  • In Nepal, 83% of children age 6-8 months are breastfed and receive complementary foods.

Major indicators

IndicatorDescriptionNepalProvince 1Province 2BagmatiGandakiProvince 5KarnaliSudurpaschimSource
Early initiation of breastfeeding  Percentage of most recent live-born children to women with a live birth in the last 2 years who were put to the breast within one hour of birth  41.742.548.530.228.7  47.439.750.0NMICS2019
Exclusive breastfeeding under 6 monthsPercentage of infants under 6 months of age who are exclusively breastfed62.160.669.9  51.158.463.268.355.0NMICS2019
Predominant breastfeeding under 6 monthsPercentage of infants under 6 months of age who received breast milk as the predominant source of nourishment11 during the previous day78.580.385.262.972.1  80.988.574.0NMICS2019
Continued breastfeeding at 1 yearPercentage of children age 12-15 months who received breast milk during the previous day95.595.289.599.2  92.199.495.997.0NMICS2019
Continued breastfeeding at 2 yearsPercentage of children age 20-23 months who received breast milk during the previous day87.687.375.085.891.096.989.8  93.4NMICS2019
Duration of breastfeedingThe age in months when 50 percent of children age 0-35 months did not receive breast milk during the previous day36+33.134.031.636+  36+36+36+NMICS2019
Age appropriate breastfeeding Percentage of children age 0-23 months appropriately fed12 during the previous day81.480.676.084.286.1  83.480.282.9NMICS2019
Introduction of solid, semisolid or soft foodsPercentage of infants age 6-8 months who received solid, semi-solid or soft foods during the previous day86.0  NMICS2019
Percentage of children under age 2 who received breastfed within 1 hour of birth55       NDHS 2016
Percentage of children under age 6 months who exclusively breastfed66%       NDHS 2016
Breastfeeding: Fact sheet

More information

Ministry of Health, Nepal; New ERA; and ICF. 2017. 2016 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey Key Findings. Kathmandu, Nepal: Ministry of Health Nepal.

Central Bureau of Statistics and United Nations Children’s Fund. 2019. Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2019 Key Indicators. Kathmandu Nepal.

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