Background . Under-five mortality has continued a key challenge to public health in Ethiopia, and other sub-Saharan Africa countries. The threat of under-five mortality is incessant and more studies are needed to generate new scientific evidence. This study aimed to model the number of under-five deaths a mother has experienced in her lifetime and factors associated with it in Ethiopia. Method . A retrospective cross-sectional study based on data obtained from the Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), 2016 was used. The response variable was the total number of under-five children died per mother in her lifetime. Variables such as maternal socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, health, and environmental factors were considered as risk factors of under-five mortality. Hurdle negative binomial (HNB) regression analysis was employed to determine the factors associated with under-five mortality. Results . The data showed that 27.2% (95%CI: 0263, 0.282) of women experienced under-five deaths. The study revealed the age of mother at first birth, the age of mother at the time of under-five mortality occurred, number of household members, household access to electricity, region, educational level of the mother, sex of household head, wealth index, mother residing with husband/partner at the time of under-five mortality occurred as factors associated with under-five mortality. Age of mother at first birth 18 to 24 (IRR = .663; 95%CI: 0.587, 0.749), 25 or higher years old (IRR = 0.424; 95%CI: 0.306, 0.588), access to electricity (IRR = 0.758; 95%CI: 0.588, 0.976), primary education level of the mother (IRR = 0.715; 95%CI: 0.584, 0.875) and the richer wealth index (IRR = 0.785; 95%CI: 0.624, 0.988) were associated with reduced incidence of under-five mortality controlling for other variables in the model. Whereas older age of mother 35 to 39 (IRR = 5.252; 95%CI: 2.992, 9.218), 40 to 44 (IRR = 7.429; 95%CI: 4.188, 13.177), 45 to 49 (IRR = 8.697; 95%CI: 4.853, 15.585), being a resident of the Benishangul-gumuz region (IRR = 1.781; 95%CI: 1.303, 2.434), female household head (IRR = 1.256; 95%CI: 1.034, 1.525) were associated with an increased incidence of under-five mortality. Conclusion . The findings suggested that early age of mothers’ at first birth and old ages of mothers’, female household head and being uneducated were found to increase the incidence of the under-five mortality, whereas access to electricity and living with husband was statistically associated with reduced incidence of under-five mortality. The implication of this study is that policymakers and stakeholders should provide health education for mothers not to give birth at an earlier age and improve living standards to achieve sustainable development goals.