It's been a while since I mentioned my hope to introduce solids using the baby-led weaning method (thanks Maryam for introducing me to the idea). Since then, I would say I've used a combination of baby-led weaning (BLW) and some traditional spoon-fed techniques. Baby led weaning has a website, and a book that explains the concept much better than I will here. In summary, the concept is built on the methodology that at six months, babies stomachs are developed enough to digest solids, and that by using (non-choking) size solids babies can develop motor skills quicker, and have a positive foundation as they start to build their relationship with food.
Naja eating Earth's Best Pureed Sweet Potatoes
I don't totally agree with this introduction of solids having a significant affect on a baby's relationship with food. However, I do think Naja has great motor skills for her age, and I would think I could attribute this to BLW. She knows where her mouth is and definitely puts food there. Not to mention, Naja is an independent little baby - she does not like other people putting food in her mouth, likely a result of BLW.
This is how BLW worked with me...At six months, I gave Naja whatever I cooked for myself for dinner, with foods including: noodles, carrots, hummus and pita, etc. NOTE: I did not give her anything that included peanuts, salt, sugar, or seafood. There's also a list of foods to stay away from, or to use minimally like cheese and bread, the book has details. Naja would "gum" on these foods, and swallow some things. It was difficult to say how much she consumed, and I think this was the main problem my mom and my doctor had with this method. Thus, I decided to introduce some purees after a couple of weeks of "solids only." By this time, Naja was accustomed to feeding herself, so I would simply hand her a "loaded" spoon, and most of it would make it to her mouth.
Naja eating an African Sweet Potato-Red Pepper Stew I made for both of us - recipe to come later
I make some purees myself, however I also buy some food from the store, and if I make a pureed soup for dinner - Naja will eat whatever I've cooked. I try to vary what I feed her, paying close attention to any negative reactions. The only allergens in Naja's immediate family is in the seafood family, which I'm clearly staying away from right now. However, we haven't run into any allergies, and she's tried LOTS of fruits and veggies.
Naja eating a homemade puree of spinach, banana, yogurt, and apple juice
So, this is how I decided to introduce solids to Naja, I am ok with the decision to not stick strictly to BLW. However, the main concept that I attached to was allowing her to feed herself, and she does that, so I am happy about that. This introduction did cause a bit of an interruption in our nursing schedule and it cut out one evening feeding. Aside from that, she nurses about the same amount as before, and consumes the same amount of milk during the day while I'm at work.