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Open Access Short report

Trends in infant and young child feeding practices in Bangladesh, 1993–2011

Hafsa Muhammad Hanif

Author Affiliations

Dow Medical College, Dow University of Health Sciences, Baba-e-Urdu Road, 74400 Karachi, Pakistan

International Breastfeeding Journal 2013, 8:10  doi:10.1186/1746-4358-8-10

Published: 28 September 2013



Optimal infant and young child feeding practices are crucial to improving the health and nutritional status of children. Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation, UNICEF and several other organizations are working in the country for the promotion of healthy feeding practices. This article presents trends in breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices in Bangladesh from 1993–2011, based on data in Bangladesh Demographic and Health Surveys. The following Bangladesh Demographic and Health Surveys were studied: BDHS 93–94, BDHS 96–97, BDHS 99–00, BDHS 04, BDHS 07 and BDHS 11. Values of indicators for infant and young child feeding proposed by WHO, along with their 95% confidence intervals, were calculated, and trends were assessed.


Among the core indicators, early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding under six months, introduction of solid, semi-solid and soft foods, and consumption of iron-rich foods have improved, while continued breastfeeding at one year does not display a statistically significant development. Of the optional indicators, the prevalence of age-appropriate breastfeeding and children ever breastfed improved, while the prevalence of predominant breastfeeding under six months witnessed a decline. Median duration of breastfeeding declined, and there was no change in the other optional indicators (continued breastfeeding at two years and bottle feeding). Developments in the other optional indicators were not statistically significant. The ratings of early initiation of breastfeeding and complementary feeding have gone up from poor to fair, those of exclusive breastfeeding under six months from fair to good, while those of bottle-feeding are fair.


The developments in breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices in the country have been considerable, but there is still substantial scope for improvement.

Bangladesh; Breastfeeding; Complementary feeding; Infant and young child feeding