So. BLW for us: we absolutely love it. The concept of BLW is completely appealing to me in the most logical way, as someone who loves real food and is suspicious of most processed stuff in jars. Letting H explore food in her own way, on her own time, while still relying on breastmilk as her primary form of nutrition? A thousand times yes.
Slightly out of focus, but totally summing up her OMGexcitement at her first real bites. (She already looks so much younger here - girl is growing fast!)
I can't overstate how appealing the ease of BLW is compared with making my own pureed foods (which let's face it, is what was going to happen in lieu of buying babyfood). I feel like I have so little extra time in the day; I'd rather spend it playing with H, going on neighborhood walks, or snuggling with her dad - not doing extra meal preparation. Cutting food we already have on hand into sticks and ensuring we have her favorites around is as much preparation as we need to do. There's definitely extra mess with BLW, but we roll straight from dinner into bathtime, so it's manageable. (Also: hilarious.)
H's opinions? Around five months she began to take a major interest as we put food into our own mouths, smiling and laughing as we chewed and she saw food disappear. By six months, the suggested starting age, she was chomping at the bit quite literally for a chance of her own. She knew exactly where to put food from the start and has enjoyed a pretty big variety of flavors.
We read the BLW bible (here are the Cliff Notes) before introducing solids, so were well-versed in the placement of babies' gag reflexes versus adults' and the differences between gagging and choking. Reading up prior to starting out helped, especially for T, who is generally more cautious and more of a preparer than I am. It goes without saying, though, you need to pay attention to every "bite" (and we do) and be ready to fish something out if she's not expelling it when she needs to.
Almost two months in, H is super-confident at mealtimes, and I love that about her. BLW really feels like a way to nurture that confidence. She began swallowing almost from the start - she really does put away more food than I ever suspected she would at this age. The proof is, shall we say, in the diapers. Her current faves include chicken, fish, broccoli, cauliflower, watermelon, blueberries, avocado, and hummus. Will BLW lead to a lifetime of confident, adventurous (read: unpicky) eating, as suggested? I'm not sure. I hope so, but time will tell. Even if our only advantages with BLW are those we're already experiencing, though, it's been worth it for us. Our little gal couldn't be happier, either.