We began to notice the turtle's interest in food a couple of months ago. It was this interest that was our green light to begin sold foods: cereal, pureed avocado, banana etc. But even with this introduction, our little guy remained interested in not only his own food but what Chris and I were eating. So in typical form, Chris and I hit the internet and the bookstore to learn more about weaning and solid food introduction. And, what we discovered is that you can actually introduce solid - actual solid - foods as early as six months. Which made sense. After all, I had been reading over and over again that the best teething ring was a frozen bagel or banana. But I hadn't put two and two together.
Chris found the book: Baby-Led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. It does a great job of walking parents through how to introduce solids with one goal in mind, to help your baby grown up a "happy and confident eater."
So we've been trying it and so far the turtle loves the new "games" we play at dinner time. Sure we still feed him cereal and pureed fruits and vegetables and the staple of his diet will continue to be breast milk and formula for at least another four months, but in addition we have given him part of an actual banana to gum, some plain spaghetti noodles and avocado slices.
I am already seeing that the turtle has a bit of an independent streak (not a huge surprise given his parents) but baby-led weaning really nurtures that trait. It allows the turtle to take charge. It also lets him develop and express preference - which I feel is instrumental to succeeding in an environment where one could become easily overwhelmed by too many choices.
Baby-led weaning...so far it gets an A+ in my book.