Ensuring optimal infant and young child feeding practices in children 0–23 months of age is critically important to improving children’s nutrition, health, and development. Measuring infant and young child feeding practices, however, is a challenge because several different practices need to be observed, and optimal practices change rapidly with the age of the child. Until this project was undertaken, there was no guidance on standard indicators that could be used in large surveys to measure infant and young child feeding practices beyond breastfeeding. Lack of consensus on simple indicators of appropriate feeding practices hampered progress in measuring and improving them, which constrained improvements in infant and young child nutritional outcomes.
A five‐year research effort led by IFPRI in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the University of California at Davis, UNICEF, USAID, and the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Project/Academy for Educational Development (or, the “core group”), developed a set of indicators of child feeding practices for global use. This is the first time that a set of simple yet valid and reliable indicators of child feeding practices has been developed for universal use in large‐scale data collection exercises at the population level. The process of developing and validating these indicators was research based, collaborative, and consultative.