No one ever told me how much fun it is to introduce food to a baby. Except for the milk and soy intolerance, we give T a lot of different things to try. Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 offerings before she'll actually try something or decide she likes it.
Meals are fun and relaxed (I love Baby-Led Weaning! no stress!) - I plop bits of things down on her high chair tray and she eats them, or not. What she doesn't eat, the dogs eat. Lately she's been eating like a CHAMP - Miss Baby finished a pint of blueberries in about 4 days. Which is no small feat since we cut them in half, and she picks them up one by one. It's like watching a mini zen master doing active meditation.
Breakfast takes a long time - BabyT signals the end by picking up the things on her tray and deliberately dropping them over the edge, or sweeping everything off her tray with her arm, which I think is pretty funny. (Ask me again later.) Sometimes we spend 45 min to an hour eating so it's also a nice time for me to catch up on email while I sit and make sure she doesn't choke. (I have some paranoia about choking.)
Before we started T on solid foods I read most of Ellyn Satter's book "Child of Mine" and really liked her philosophy around the "division of labor" regarding meals. It's my job as parent to provide a range of healthy options, and BabyT's job to decide whether and how much to eat it.
No power struggles about how much she's eating. No "airplane" games or coaxing her to take "just one more bite". Babies and toddlers have great inborn sense of how much they need to eat, and over time will consume all the different things they need (as long as you offer a variety of food groups, etc).
The few times we tried to spoonfeed her in order to get her to take her iron supplement (massive FAIL), it was stressful, and I felt like this horrible, food-pushing mother. So I quit. It's easier to just shoot the supplement into her cheek during changing time - she hates it but at least I'm not also making her eating experience miserable. We usually follow it up with some milk and lots of snuggles and cheers so she gets over it pretty quickly.
Current favorites are ham and sausage, and of course, blueberries. Our girl likes her meat. Which I'm sure she inherited from her daddy. Oddly, she also likes really garlicky hummus, and the spicy black bean soup I made. I guess all those salt 'n' vinegar chips I ate when I was pregnant made a difference :)
I'd love to hear your suggestions on what to feed a baby who's gotten good at feeding herself. We can't quite just give her what we eat yet, due to the milk/soy issue, but we're getting close. I'll just need to modify what I cook sometimes.