Percent of infants ages 6 to 8 months who receive complementary food

Percent of infants ages 6 to 8 months who receive complementary food

Percent of infants ages 6 to 8 months who receive complementary food

The percent of infants ages 6 to 8 months who receive complementary foods in addition to a milk source (i.e., breast milk, formula, or other milk). Complementary foods are defined as solid or semi-solid/mushy foods and do not include fluids.  The time frame 6 to 8 months includes from the beginning of the infant’s sixth month through the end of the eight month of life (UNICEF/WHO, 2009).

This indicator is calculated as:

(Number of infants 6-8 months who received solid and/or semi-solid foods / Total number of infants 6-8 months) x 100

For more detail on this and related indicators, see: WHO NLIS (2010)UNICEF/WHO (2009); and UNICEF et al. (2007).

Data Requirement(s):

A 24-hour recall of food consumption for infants 6 to 8 months of age and current breastfeeding status from population-based surveys, such as the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) and UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS). Where the data are available, this indicator also can be disaggregated by the mother’s age, parity, education, income quintiles, and urban/rural residence.

Population-based surveys (DHS and MICS); DHS reports provide data for this indicator for those countries in which the breastfeeding/infant-feeding module is included. Program records can be used to track trends in complementary feeding but not to measure impact.

Evaluators may supplement these data by an additional indicator(s) reflecting types, quantity, density, and/or quality of complementary foods.  If researchers or evaluators opt to collect additional information on complementary feeding, for example food diversity indicators, retaining this basic indicator is recommended for comparisons with other populations.

This indicator reflects only the consumption of complementary feeding, not the appropriateness and the amounts of these foods or the amounts and types of milk infants receive. Retrospective data, such as information collected on past infant feeding practices at 12 or 24 months postpartum, are subject to recall bias.  Using a 24-hour recall period to measure current status may tend to slightly underestimate the percent of infants receiving complementary feeds if these foods were not received in the 24 hours before the survey.

breastfeeding (BF)

UNICEF, UC Davis, USAID, IFPRI, WHO, 2007, Indicators for assessing infant and young child feeding practices, Geneva: WHO

UNICEF and WHO, 2009, Tracking Progress on Child and Maternal Nutrition

WHO, 2010, Integrated WHO Nutrition Global Database: Nutrition Landscape Information System (NLIS), Geneva: WHO.

WHO/UNICEF, 2009, Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative: Revised, updated and expanded for integrated care, Geneva: WHO.