The truth: It's not advised except in rare instances, such as when a baby has severe reflux and isn't getting enough calories to grow. "We're not talking about mildly spitty or gassy babies," says Jennifer Shu, M.D., coauthor of Food Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed With Insight, Humor, and a Bottle of Ketchup (out August 2007 at aap.org). Even in the tough cases, first check with your doctor about other options, such as supplementing with extra formula or trying medication, like antacids.
"Babies know how much they need to drink based on volume, so upping the calories in the bottle can cause them to overfeed and become overweight," says Dr. Shu.
As for giving infant cereal at bedtime to help your baby sleep longer, studies show that it doesn't work. Bottom line: If your baby's old enough to digest solids (between 4 and 6 months), she should be getting them from a spoon.