Minimum Milk Feeding Frequency for Non-Breastfed Children
English: % of non-breastfed children 6 - 23 months of age who consumed at least two milk feeds during the previous day
French: % d’enfants non allaités de 6 à 23 mois ayant consommé au moins deux produits à base de lait le jour précédent
Portuguese: % de crianças não amamentadas com idades compreendidas entre os 6-23 meses que consumiram pelo menos duas refeições de leite durante o dia anterior
Czech: % nekojených dětí ve věku 6-23 měsíců, které v uplynulém dni alespoň dvakrát konzumovaly mléčné produkty
What is its purpose?
Non-breastfed children require calcium and other nutrients from milk and other dairy products. Therefore, this indicator assesses the extent to which non-breastfed children consume the recommended number of milk feeds.
How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data
There are two main ways to determine the indicator’s value. Both require conducting individual interviews with caregivers of a representative sample of children aged 6 - 23 months:
1) Using Full WHO/UNICEF Standard Questionnaires
WHO/UNICEF’s questionnaires on current breastfeeding and liquids consumption (see pages 25 - 27 in the guidance below) record the data required by this indicator. You can use it to determine the indicator’s value.
2) Asking About Milk Feeds Only
If you do not want to administer the entire questionnaire on breastfeeding and liquids consumption, use the following questions only:
Q1: Yesterday, during the day or at night, was [child’s name] given any breast milk?
A1: yes / no / does not know
Q2: Yesterday, did [child’s name] consume any milk products? This can include: infant formula, yoghurt, yoghurt drink or fresh / tinned / powdered animal milk.
A2: yes / no / does not know
Q3: Yesterday, how many times did [child’s name] consume any of the milk products I mentioned? They include infant formula, yoghurt, yoghurt drink or fresh / tinned / powdered animal milk.
1) ….. times
2) does not know
To calculate the indicator’s value, divide the number of non-breastfed children 6 - 23 months of age who consumed at least two milk feeds during the previous day by the total number of surveyed non-breastfed children aged 6 – 23 months (excluding those where the "does not know" answer was provided). Multiply the result by 100 to convert it to a percentage.
Disaggregate the data by gender, age group and household wealth.
1) According to WHO/UNICEF guidance (see below), “milk feeds” include any formula (e.g. infant formula, follow-on formula, “toddler milk”) or any animal milk other than human breast milk, (e.g. cow milk, goat milk, evaporated milk or reconstituted powdered milk) as well as semi-solid and fluid/drinkable yogurt and other fluid / drinkable fermented products made with animal milk.
2) While WHO/UNICEF guidance (see below) specifies the daily requirement of milk, it does not require you to measure the amount of milk products consumed. Most likely, this is because the guidance operates with an expected average size of a serving. For more details, see page 10 of WHO/UNICEF guidance.
3) In many contexts, the number of milk feeds is prone to seasonal differences (due to availability of income and milk products). Do your best to collect baseline and endline data from the same times of year; otherwise, you will receive two sets of data which are not comparable. Avoid collecting data during the fasting periods (such as pre-Easter or Ramadan).
4) If the caregiver is taking care of two children aged 6 - 23 months (from the same household) and household sampling has been used, then data should be collected for both children. If a list method has been used and children have been identified as the primary sampling unit, then data should only be collected for the sampled child.
5) This indicator relies on accurate age assessment. Since people often do not remember the exact dates of their children’s birth, the enumerators should always verify the child’s age. This can be done by reviewing the child’s birth certificate, vaccination card or other document; however, since many caregivers do not have such documents (and since they can include mistakes), it is essential that the enumerators are able to verify the child’s age by using local events calendars. Read FAO’s Guidelines (see below) to learn how to prepare local events calendars and how to train enumerators in their correct use.
Access Additional Guidance
- WHO, UNICEF (2021) Indicators for assessing infant and young child feeding practices (.pdf)
- FAO (2008) Guidelines for Estimating the Month and Year of Birth of Young Children (.pdf)