Home Fact Sheet Breastfeeding Facts in Nepal

The 2022 NDHS is a national sample survey that provides up-to-date information on various health indicators. Here are the major findings of NDHS 2022 related to breastfeeding practices in Nepal.

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  • Exclusive breastfeeding has fluctuated over time, with a sharp dip in 2006. However, exclusive breastfeeding has been steadily declining since 2011, from 70% to 56%.
  • Nationally, only 56% of children age 0–5 months are exclusively breastfed, while 20% receive mixed milk feeding.
  • Among women who received ANC for their most recent live birth and/or stillbirth, only 52% of women received counseling on breastfeeding.
  • Almost all children under age 2 (99%) have been breastfed at some point.
  • Over half (55%) of children are put to the breast within 1 hour of birth, and 59% are exclusively breastfed for the first 2 days after birth.
  • Both early initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding for the first 2 days after birth are lower among cesarean section births (17% and 21%, respectively) than among vaginal births (63% and 68%, respectively).
  • The percentage of children who were put to the breast within 1 hour is higher in rural areas (63%) than in urban areas (51%).
  • The percentage of children breastfed within 1 hour of birth is highest in Sudurpashchim Province (69%) and lowest in Bagmati Province (43%).
  • Similarly, 82% of children in Sudurpashchim Province are exclusively breastfed for the first 2 days after birth, as compared with 48% of children in Bagmati Province.
  • The proportions of children breastfed within 1 hour of birth and exclusively breastfed for the first 2 days are highest in the lowest wealth quintile (62% and 82%, respectively) and lowest in the highest wealth quintile (41% and 40%, respectively).
  • Early initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding for the first 2 days also vary according to mother’s education.
  • Sixty-one percent of children born to mothers with no education were put to the breast within 1 hour and 58% were exclusively breastfed for the first 2 days, whereas the corresponding figures among children born to mothers with more than a secondary education are 36% and 32%.

Exclusive Breastfeeding and Mixed Milk Feeding

  • At age 0–1 month, only 70% of children are exclusively breastfed as per WHO recommendations.
  • Twenty-eight percent of children are not being fed according to recommended guidelines, with 6% receiving breast milk and plain water only, 1% receiving breast milk and non-milk liquids, 18% receiving breast milk and formula and/or animal milk, and 3% receiving breast milk and solid, semisolid, or soft foods.
  • By age 2–3 months, there is a small decline in the percentage of children exclusively breastfed, with more than one-third (33%) of children receiving liquids or foods other than breast milk.
  • By age 4–5 months, the percentage of children exclusively breastfed declines sharply to 41% and the majority of children are receiving liquids or foods other than breast milk, primarily breast milk and solid, semisolid, or soft foods (26%).
  • Exclusive breastfeeding is highest in Sudurpashchim Province and Karnali Province (74% each) and lowest in Lumbini Province (36%).
  • The proportion of children age 0–5 months who are exclusively breastfed fluctuates across wealth quintiles.
  • The proportion is highest in the lowest wealth quintile (64%) and lowest in the highest quintile (44%).
  • Twenty-two percent of children born in a health facility receive mixed milk feeding (breast milk and fresh, packaged, or powdered animal milk or infant formula), as compared with 12% of those born at home.
  • Children of mothers with a secondary education more often receive mixed milk feeding than children of mothers with no education (28% versus 9%).

Continued Breastfeeding and Bottle Feeding

  • Among children age 12–23 months, 94% are currently breastfeeding. Around one-fifth (22%) of children less than age 2 are bottle fed.
  • The proportion of children who are bottle fed is higher in urban areas (26%) than in rural areas (15%).
  • Use of a bottle with a nipple is lowest in Karnali Province (11%) and Madhesh Province (12%) and highest in Bagmati Province (43%).
  • The proportion of children who are bottle fed increases with increasing mother’s education, from 12% among those whose mothers have no education to 49% among those whose mothers have more than a secondary education.
  • Use of a bottle with a nipple is highest in the highest wealth quintile (46%) and lowest in the lowest quintile (11%).

Introduction of Complementary Foods

  • Overall, 85% of children were introduced to solid, semisolid, or soft foods at age 6–8 months.
  • Sixty-seven percent of these breastfeeding children received food made from grains; 66% received beans, peas, lentils, nuts, and seeds; 26% received white/pale starchy roots, tubers, and plantains; 18% received vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables; 11% received eggs; 5% received meat, fish, poultry, or organ meats; and 30% received other fruits and vegetables.


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