I'm all about breastfeeding if you possibly can. I know it is difficult for some people and I don't fault them for it at all. But if it is at all possible, the benefits to both Mama and baby are worth it! So I exclusively breastfeed my babies for the 1st 6 months.
Around 6 months, I usually start introducing foods to my baby. I wait until my baby can sit up all by herself, because that shows me that she is probably developmentally ready. But I don't worry about how much she eats, because at 6 months, she is still getting everything she needs from my breastmilk. I start her out on table food simply to get her used to different tastes and textures, and also so that I can eat in peace! (If she doesn't have food of her own, she is fussing and grabbing at my plate during mealtime :)
With my first baby, I pureed tons of fruits and vegetables and froze them in little ice cubes. But the 2nd time around, I totally skipped all that and was glad that I did. Instead, I just fed her whatever veggies and meat I fixed for my family for dinner. I made sure they were soft enough and would smash them with a fork if they seemed too big. I also added in a lot of butter, olive oil, or coconut oil because babies need healthy fats more than anything. I let her pick everything up and play with it and eat what she could. I didn't feed her anything with a spoon other than home-made yogurt, cod-liver oil, and a soft-boiled egg because they are just so good for her. I wanted her to develop that pincer grasp and good hand-eye coordination as well. So she mainly just fed herself. It was definitely more messy, but much less work since I did not need to puree and freeze. Plus, she was quite entertained and I could eat my dinner in peace!
I'm pretty much taking the same laid back approach with Abbi. I started giving her fermented cod liver oil around 4 months instead of the Vitamin D supplement that most pediatricians recommend. When she started acting like she wanted to eat when we did around 6 months, I first just gave her a spoonful of coconut oil or butter to chew on. Then I let her have fun with some avocado and soft-boiled egg yolks. I've also let her have plain yogurt and fresh cheese from my farmer. I will not give her any cereal because babies can't even digest it well until around a year old. I try not to let my babies have any grains until at least a year, and I'll hold off longer if possible because they need the healthy fat and protein so much more. My goal is to give my babies only real food -- not processed at all. But I'm not ridiculous about it. With Karlie, we went to visit the grandparents and Nina had bought some baby food and really enjoyed feeding Karlie with a spoon and that was fine. I knew that 90% of the time Karlie was feeding herself real food that I prepared.
I've found that around 8 months, my babies start actually "needing" to eat table food more because my milk supply can't quite keep up with their growing bodies. But that's just me. I have friends who have successfully fed their babies only breast milk until one year old. But my body just can't seem to do it. Instead of supplementing with formula, however, I just make sure my babies get enough fat and protein from real food. I continue nursing my babies every 3-4 hours during the day and give them lots of healthy, real food. I've also found that my milk supply keeps up better if I continue to wake them for a late night feeding before I go to bed even once they start sleeping through it. I know many people wouldn't want to mess up the sleep cycle, but it is worth it to me to be able to keep up my milk supply.
Eggs are truly the best food that I can give my babies. They have plenty of protein and iron and fats. They actually contain every nutrient that your body needs other than vitamin C! So I tried to make sure Karlie ate at least one egg yolk every day once she was about 8 months. (And not all eggs are created equal -- please read THIS POSTto see why free range, pastured, not-from-a-store-eggs are soooo much better! Quick synopsis: to have healthy eggs you need a healthy chicken. A healthy chicken needs lots of sunlight and bugs to eat. You can't find healthy eggs at a grocery store -- you have to get them from the farm!
I also gave Karlie a lot of avocados -- a great first food for babies because of all the healthy fat. I usually mashed it up with good quality olive oil or coconut oil to give her even more healthy fats! Some times I would mix it with plain home-made yogurt because yogurt is good for her as well and I wanted her to get used to the sour taste of unsweetened yogurt. Avocados are the perfect healthy "fast food." I kept them on hand in case I sadly did not make a healthy enough meal for my family and wanted to be sure she ate real food. They were also my first choice to take for Karlie when we went out to eat because they are just so easy!
So there's my quick overview of how I approach feeding babies. I know it might not work for some children if they have a gagging problem or other eating issues, but it has worked well for my girls so I thought I would share. Feel free to ask any questions!
**And as a disclaimer -- I am not a doctor in any way and my advice should not be taken as professional. I am simply fascinated (my husband would say obsessed :) with nutrition and have read a lot about it.