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NEARLY 40 PER CENT OF INFANTS IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD ARE EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFED FOR THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF LIFE

Nearly half of infants in South Asia are exclusively breastfed
Percentage of infants exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, by region (2000–2006)

Infant feeding

Infant feeding

World Fit for Children target: Protect, promote and support exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding with safe, appropriate and adequate complementary feeding up to two years of age or beyond

Exclusive breastfeeding among children under six months of age has increased remarkably in many sub-Saharan African countries over the last 10 years. The rate in developing countries is now nearly 40 per cent.

Proper infant feeding practices are key to child survival. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life has the potential to avert 13 per cent of all under-five deaths in developing countries, making it the most effective preventive method of saving children’s lives. Timely and appropriate complementary feeding could avert a further six per cent of under-five deaths.

CURRENT PRACTICES IN INFANT AND YOUNG CHILD FEEDING

Percentage of children in the developing world exclusively breastfed, both breastfed and receiving complementary foods, and continuing to breastfeed at specified ages (2000–2006)

 


 

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA AND CEE/CIS MADE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENTS IN EXCLUSIVE BREASTFEEDING

Percentage of infants exclusively breastfed for the fi rst six months of life, by region (around 1996 and around 2006)


 

IN 28 COUNTRIES, MORE THAN HALF OF INFANTS ARE EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFED

Percentage of infants exclusively breastfed for the fi rst six months of life (2000–2006)


 

SIGNIFICANT INCREASES IN EXCLUSIVE BREASTFEEDING IN 16 SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN COUNTRIES

Seven countries posted gains of 20 percentage points or more
Percentage of infants exclusively breastfed for the fi rst six months of life (around 1996 and around 2006)

Note: The chart includes countries with at least three data points in the time series, an average annual rate of change that is higher than 1 per cent (except Rwanda) and a current exclusive breastfeeding rate of more than 10 per cent.

Source for figures on this page: UNICEF global databases, 2007.