Baby-led weaning. It's a concept that seemed natural to me, that I mostly learned about from my neighbors. They are pretty avid (though not in an ideological sense, they just did it because it was easier) baby-led weaners (haha) and their 18-month-old eats EVERYTHING. Raw tofu, asparagus, every type of vegetable and soup and curry you can imagine. Advocates of baby-led weaning stress the importance of giving your baby textured food from the start, and then they won't reject it later. I wanted to do this on the one hand, on the other hand we get free baby food from WIC and you know I don't say no to free stuff. We bought some pureed peas and carrotts and pears and apples and tried to feed them to Atticus. He flat out rejected them. He'd take one bite and gag and clamp his mouth shut. I thought it was weird because even before we decided to feed him food he would try to eat ours so I figured he was eager to eat. And he had loved pureed avocado, so how different could baby food be? Well, I tasted it. It's nastier than I imagined. No need for my baby to eat this stuff daily. I will sometimes still mix a little green beans with some mashed up potato, but most of the baby food we ended up with went into food storage.
Now, we're just giving Atticus what we eat. Salmon, asparagus, sweet potatoes, pasta, Cheerios, apple slices, lentil soup. I'm still being careful not to give him dairy, eggs, citrus, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, nuts etc. but we don't eat a lot of that anyways so it's not really that hard to feed him what we eat. It also is helping me be aware of what I'm feeding the rest of us; for instance, instead of adding butter and brown sugar to sweet potatoes, i just eat it plain so Atticus can eat with me. I try to make sure not to add too much salt in our soups and casseroles if we are going to share. Although he doesn't get as much food this way as if I was feeding him jar after jar of baby food, it means he gets more breast milk which is way better for him and full of nutrients than any baby food I could feed him. He doesn't fill up on table food, gets more breast milk, and this is so much easier than preparing baby food and having him spit it out. I still puree up some things in my handy baby blender that Shay and Nessa gave me, but mostly if the food is too chewy for him to handle on his own, I just chew it up and spit it into a spoon for him. May sound gross... but not really. And surprisingly, he can handle most things on his own. Today, I was nervous he would choke on whole pieces of spinach penne pasta, but he chewed them right down one after the other. Same with whole pieces of asparagus. We also bought this nifty little contraption that Lauren had for Benny that you put food in and it has a little net that keeps them from choking. He loves it.