The Cost of Not Breastfeeding

cost of not breastfeedingNote: In August 2022, Alive & Thrive and Nutrition International released a new version of the Cost of Not Breastfeeding tool, updated with the latest data for more than 160 countries. Visit the new version here.

Globally, nearly 600,000 children and nearly 100,000 women die each year due to inadequate breastfeeding. These preventable deaths, combined with cognitive losses, and health system costs of inadequate breastfeeding leads to over $340 billion in economic losses annually. The data calls for immediate scaling up of financing and implementation of policies, programs, and interventions to meet the World Health Assembly’s breastfeeding target by 2025.

Select a country to see the calculation of the cost of not breastfeeding.


About the tool

This tool was created by Alive & Thrive to help determine the future economic losses of low- and middle-income countries due to not breastfeeding according to recommendations. All monetary values are presented in US dollars. A special thank you to Dylan Walters, MA, PhD, Alive & Thrive consultant for leading the tool development and providing ongoing support.

About the methodology: Modeling of costs of not breastfeeding used estimated effects from systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Country breastfeeding rates are from the latest MICS or DHS surveys available (2008-2012), acknowledging that several countries have since published new data. Further background and methodology used in the tool can be found in the following publication: Walters, Phan, & Mathisen. 2019. The cost of not breastfeeding: Global results from a new tool. Health Policy and Planning. doi: 10.1093/heapol/czz050

Learn more:

The full data set for additional countries and regions not yet available on the online tool can be accessed here.

Questions on the tool can be sent to