I would pre-load the spoons to begin with, though DD preferred to use her fingers, even with runny stuff. She'd then guide it to her mouth, sometimes successfully, sometime not.
I didn't consciously introduce it at a certain time. I'd usually have a spoon on her tray for her to play with. I guess she's just naturally progressed to using it herself. I don't think i really noticed it happening but now she's actually quite good at 14 months. She can get sticky stuff like porridge in quite easily as it stays on the spoon better. She's also been trying with a little fork recently.
We've never had a choking incident but I second doing a first aid course if you're concerned. We did one before my DS was born and they cover what to do.
I have a GP friend (with 3 young kids who eat amazingly) and she like others here are saying is anti a staunch stance on either 'method's' - it's a bit of this and a bit of that. Sometimes a baby does need food and if that means spooning in some porridge or a weetabix then that's fine and then if they want to suck or chomp on some toast then so is that.
All the rubbish I've read on here and seen with friends spending hours and hours fussing and pureeing and then having it thrown around and the upset that baby x hasn't eaten this or that - am sure the upset and stress and worrying about it causes much more harm.
Don't over research, do what's best for your baby and you - relax and make it enjoyable, it really isn't a big deal imo
I do a mix of purees and finger food. I don't think either method is better, one, or a mix of both, just suits people and babies differently. I batch cook and freeze purées, it's really not that much faff, and they are far nicer than the shop bought stuff. BLW, or finger food as it has been called for much longer, is better suited to things like toast of course as who would puree toast?
Must admit I don't get the evangelical all or nothing attitude to either 'method'
I do a bit of both - at one he eats from a spoon, and can feed himself. Meal times are as messy or as clean as I want! Messy mealtimes at home, and clean (well, cleaner) ones when we're out or travelling.
DD was BLW, at 3 she can use a fork and a spoon, no problems, she was never spoon fed.
DD is 1, his favourite thing to do with a spoon is to throw it on the floor and then eat everything with his hands. DD was the same. Don't worry that if you do BLW your DC will struggle with cutlery - they will learn (the same as everything else!)
I have two dc and did mainly purees till about 9 months and then gradually introduced finger foods. Both eat everything and anything and never had any issues. Do whatever seems best for you. I don't think it makes any difference long term. Purees have been around for years and years and years and you don't see many adults still eating them !
DD is 10 months and after feeding herself for 4 of those, her dexterity is pretty impressive. There's occasional things we use spoons for, like yoghurt and at the beginning, things like wheetabix. But she normally has her own spoon in hand as we do it. She also has a fierce appetite and will eat absolutely anything. I'm really hoping it stays this way as she grows.
The Gill Rapely book was useful to begin with. But really, other than altering our diet slightly, (I don't season until its on our plates, and we use unsalted butter etc) it's been really easy. Eating out is a breeze. We do this regularly and I couldn't imagine the faff of having to bring jars/spoons etc along. As long as I order something she can share with me, and we usually get sides of veg, she can enjoy it to.
I think the most beneficial thing is te development of a healthy relationship with food. They know when they are full, so will stop eating. If there's something on her tray she doesn't fancy. She won't eat it. But to see her explore her food, study it, taste it, put it down, then change her mind and gobble it up, I love it. As someone else had said, it's been the most fun part for us so far. Most importantly for you, just so whatever feels right.