Baby led weaning is an alternative to the traditional spoon feeding of purée when weaning babies from 6 months. The concept is that you give your baby finger food. With both my boys, I did a bit of both. Homemade purée to make sure something was going in and some finger food to play with. They soon learn what to do and I've found it great to be able to put together an easy packed lunch for when we're out and about with no worries about needing to warm up mush.
For first tastes, food which is soft and easy to chew works best. If you can cut it into long baton shapes which are easy to grip and manoeuvre to the mouth you'll also have more success.
Here are a few ideas to get you started which have been endorsed my kids.
Preparation Time: Just a few minutes
Makes: 1 serving
Cut a slice of cucumber about 5cm long. Slice off the skin as it's a bit tough for first tastes. Cut it into batons that are easy for little fingers to hold. As your child gets older you can leave the skin on.
Both my boys love little cherry tomatoes. My 3 year old eats them whole and loves the pop as he bites in and the squirt as the juices run out. For my one year old, I cut them in half so they are a little easier for him to handle.
Banana and pear are both great foods for first weaning. They are soft and easy to mush in the mouth. Bananas are particularly handy as they require no preparation and come ready wrapped so are perfect to take out in a picnic.
Simple sandwiches are also possible even before your child has lots of teeth. I use thin to medium cut bread so that it's not too much of a mouthful. Spread a layer of cream cheese as a filling and cut into handy stick shapes.
My last recommendation for first easy finger foods to try is fusilli pasta. It's a perfect shape for little hands to hold and if you add some savoury purée it will cling well to the twisty shape.
I'd love to hear what success you've had with first finger foods and what favourites your kids enjoy.