As a breast only baby, we decided to wait until around nine months to start solids. The older Oliver got though, the more interested in food he became. It didn't help that I would give him tastes of things with a finger dip. What can I say? I'm so used to sharing pieces with Nola, it just seemed natural. Oops. We chatted about it and decided that when his teeth started coming in and when he could reasonably feed himself, then we'd give him food, yet I still felt like it would be eight or nine months. There are too many benefits of breast milk only in the first year and we wanted him to get as much as he could. (Especially since it's apparently frowned upon by Chandler to cook with breast milk. Yes I did. No you couldn't tell. Yes we can chat about it further if you'd like.)
Seven months is when we took the plunge. There were so many reasons not to, mainly selfish ones: change in poop, the need to diversify food options, and honestly- just plain laziness. I loved being able to do anything and go anywhere and not have to worry about what to bring because I knew I could just whip it out.
Anyway.... he became increasingly interested in food and I knew it was time. His first foods were avocado and pear. He loved both. We didn't go the recommended route though. I think you're supposed to start with cereal. We didn't. We also didn't do the one new food each week thing. Nor did we start with puree. His first foods were chunks. We'd read about baby-led weaning, which is the idea that you give your child pieces of food large enough to hold in their hand and chew the tops and their gag reflex keeps them from choking. We were slightly nervous about that, but he hasn't choked yet. Now that he has a good pincer grip, I give him small bits instead of larger pieces, but we don't really do purees. I did buy some rice cereal and sweet potato cereal and sometimes I'll mix in a puree, but for the most part, he eats whatever we are eating. To be completely open and honest, the cereal and purees are really for me, because it's kind of fun to feed him. He much prefers to feed himself though and will often shriek at the spoon to get more regular food. Can't blame him. I've tasted all of his baby mush and it's not great.
As with his nursing, I can't tell you how much he eats. I've never really measured it out or thought much about it. Sometimes it's a lot, sometimes not so much. I probably should pay more attention to how much he eats, but he nurses the same amount as before solids so I'm not really worried about it for now. I understand some people are concerned with iron intake as breast milk doesn't have as much iron after six months, but our pediatrician is not worried about that for now.
He is still eating just one meal of solids each day - dinner. A typical dinner for him may consist of whole grain macaroni tossed with a tiny bit of butter and breast milk, green beans, and peaches or veggie hot dogs, peas, carrots, and pears. Bananas, avocado, and sweet potatoes are high on his list as well. I would imagine that by nine months we'll probably be feeding him another meal of solids at breakfast.
If you're holding him and eating something, you better have something to share or all heck will break loose. He likes Gerber Graduates puff snacks in all the flavors and I try to keep some around just in case we're out and need a snack. Only this week has he started to show interest in a sippy cup. He never took to a bottle and I'm determined to get him to take a sippy cup. I had a little milk in the freezer that I was using but it was getting wasted and I like to have it on reserve (you know, in case I'm making muffins and realize we're out of milk or something...) so now we just use water. There's a neat sippy that you can squeeze and the liquid goes into their mouth so they know something is inside - it's amazing. He also likes a soft Nuk one.
So that's solids. He thinks he's big stuff sitting in his high chair feeding himself. He's really good at it too and isn't near as messy as I'd anticipated.