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Pre-Lacteal Feeding

Indicator Phrasing

% of children aged 0-23 months who did not receive pre-lacteal feeds
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: % of children aged 0-23 months who did not receive pre-lacteal feeds

French: % d'enfants âgés de 0 à 23 mois qui n'ont pas reçu d'aliments pré-lactiques

Portuguese: % de crianças com idades entre 0 a 23 meses que não receberam alimentos pré-lácteos

Czech: % dětí ve věku 0-23 měsíců, které během prvních třech dnů po porodu byly krmeny výhradně mateřským mlékem

What is its purpose?

The indicator assesses the proportion of young children who in the first three days of life did not receive any food or liquid (i.e. pre-lacteal feeds) other than breast milk. Pre-lacteal feeds increase the risk of diarrhoea and other health and life-threatening diseases.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Collect the following data by conducting individual interviews with a representative sample of mothers of children aged 0-23 months:



Q1: What did your youngest baby eat and drink in the first three days after birth?

A1: _

1) only breast milk

2) fluids/meals other than breast milk

3) breast milk and other fluids/meals


To calculate the indicator’s value, divide the number of children who were fed with breastmilk only by the total number of respondents. Multiply the result by 100 to convert it to a percentage.

Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by the delivery place (home, health centre, hospital), presence of a skilled birth attendant during delivery (present/ absent; use for home deliveries only), location (rural/ urban) and socio-economic characteristics (e.g. level of education).

Important Comments

1) If the percentage is above 20% then addressing pre-lacteal feeding should be given priority; however, it needs to be discussed in the context.


2) This indicator relies on an accurate age assessment. Since people often do not remember the exact dates of their children’s birth, the data collectors should always verify the child’s age. This can be done by reviewing the child’s birth certificate, vaccination card or another document; however, since many caregivers do not have such documents (and since they can include mistakes), it is essential that your data collectors 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 data collectors in their correct use.


This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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