Secondary analysis of Demographic and Health Survey data by SAIFRN Sri Lanka has shown that breastfeeding and complementary feeding indicators in Sri Lanka are generally favourable. However, sub-populations in tea estate and urban metropolitan areas remain vulnerable. In addition, appropriate breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices should be strengthened to tackle the high prevalence of malnutrition in children under five years of age.


  • Almost all infants had a history of breastfeeding, with breastfeeding remaining a common practice well beyond 24 months of age.

  • Over 80% of all newborns were breastfed within an hour of birth.

  • Almost 76% of infants aged less than 6 months were exclusively breastfed.

  • Median duration of exclusive breastfeeding was 4.8 months.

  • Complementary feeding practices among children 6-23 months of age at national level were as follows: the Minimum dietary diversity 71.1%; Minimum meal frequency 88.3% and the Minimum acceptable diet for the breastfed children 67.9%.


  • Focus more on breastfeeding promotion to women who deliver through Caesarean section.

  • Carry out further research to elucidate the causes of poor breastfeeding among mothers living in metropolitan zones and tea estates.

  • Strengthen policies and interventions to support breastfeeding among working mothers.

  • Emphasize action to improve the dietary diversity of younger children, especially those aged 6–11 months.

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