DS is 6 months old. We would like to do baby-led weaning when he is ready for solids. So far he has sucked on a piece of watermelon, gnawed on an apple, and gummed a cantaloupe -- all impromptu and off our plates and with nothing going down. I am finding it hard to wait, since he shows interest in food and I'm excited to share it with him. He is very interested in our food, but also in our cups and keys, etc. He only sits up propped on his hands (and not straight up). I'm hoping he can sit up better in a few weeks, since I know that trunk strength shows an ability to handle foods better without choking. Does he need to develop the pincer grasp before we should start? Do I need to wait until he is forcibly grabbing food off our plates, rather than just watching and grasping for it? What did you do?
When did you start solids?
She's almost 9 months now and will eat a little bit, but not enough to affect her milk intake. It's totally her control, she's never had anything spooned into her, so it's up to her when she's ready to eat. I have noticed that her fine motor skills have rapidly improved, and she will taste and enjoy a variety of flavors (dill pickles, for example).
If your little one seems "hungry" but doesn't have the pincer grasp or the choppers for a big old hunk of food yet, it is an option to make a mash for him to shovel into his face. I don't know how "strictly BLW" it is, but with my Little Miss, I did offer some purees in the very beginning (no forced spooning, just help as requested), and then within a few weeks moved on to offering her some mushed up roasted yams or sweet potatoes, which she happily shovels into her own mouth. Risotto is another good one - mine ate leftover risotto for lunch today, no spooning needed, she just shovels it in with her fist.
The signs I had were: she was 6 months old, she'd stopped gaining weight quickly, her bowel movements had actually already changed somewhat from the "newborn and breastfed" state and stage, she sat unassisted, she had a rudimentary pincer grasp. She had no teeth to speak of when we started. She just gummed her grub.
Another good piece of advice I got was: "You'll know if (s)he is not ready for a certain food."
As terrifying as it is to hear your baby choke, I offered chicken a little too early for her, she choked on some soft boiled shredded chicken, I swiped her, and tried the chicken again a few weeks later... no choking this time. I was just too soon, she just couldn't handle it.