Ever since Hayden's 6 month birthday in February, he started eating "real" food with Mommy and Daddy. We decided to skip the whole baby-food, puree, rice-cereal thing and jump straight into real food with Hayden. I read the book, Baby-Led Weaning that explained the process of transitioning baby from only milk to table food. I know that this approach isn't for everyone, but a month and a half in, it's really working well for us.
The basic concept of the Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) approach is to let the baby decide what and how much to eat. It doesn't involve spoon-feeding or pureeing anything. Rather, you give baby portions of your (healthy!!) meal and let them feed themselves. We give Hayden baby-friendly pieces of food that he can pick up and eat himself. Part of the approach acknowledges that babies are extra-curious and will take time to explore food without really eating it. Since the table food meals are meant to accompany milk feedings, rather than replace it in the beginning, baby isn't missing any calories by not eating a whole jar of baby food. Of course, before beginning to feed Hayden, we checked with our doctor and got his approval.
Ever since then, Hayden's been enjoying breakfast and dinner with us (and lunch on the weekends). He is quite adventurous and pretty willing to try anything we put in front of him. He's had broccoli, sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, pancakes, bananas, oatmeal, spaghetti, naan, hummus, apples, pears, kiwi, cheese, edamame, chicken, quesadillas, cottage cheese, yogurt, and toast, to name a few things. Like any person, he has food preferences and tends to eat more of some things and less of other. This kid loves his broccoli and also hummus!
Meal time has been really fun! Hayden gets excited about each new meal item. Lucy get's excited about the possibility of food dropping to the ground... Last weekend we went out to breakfast and Hayden commandeered my fork and gave himself a healthy helping of scrambled eggs. Again, I know this approach isn't for everyone but it's been a great for our family and it actually makes things easier than always having baby food on hand or making our own!