I shared previously that Bun started her solids-eating journey with a disinterest in food. Heeding her doctor's advice, I gave her whole pieces of food to eat, to give her some autonomy in food choices, and to help her develop an interest in food.
Today, at almost 15 months, I will place her meals in front of her, and she will feed herself fairly efficiently. Sure, I will always have newspapers lining the floor under her highchair, and make sure that she wears a waterproof bib, but she does get a fair amount into her tummy. She is able to use a spoon and fork quite well when presented with them, but is most happy using her bare hands to put food into her mouth.
Her independence in self-feeding has been wonderful, as it frees me up to do other things, including feeding myself! Although there is a lot to clean up (grimy hands do get everywhere, including her ultra-thick hair), I am secretly pleased that this partial baby-led weaning experiment has worked well for us. There is a sense of pride in watching her feed herself intentionally, and in observing how she tastes everything that is put in front of her. She particularly likes vegetable stems!
Bun gets most thrilled however, when I present her with a whole fruit, particularly when it comes straight from the fridge. She would cup the fruit in her little hands, grin widely, and announce "Cooold!" before sitting down to gnaw on it.
If you are interested to try this method of feeding your child, there is this excellent Facebook Group that you can join to learn how others do it.
Like every other parenting methodology, there are extreme proponents of baby-led weaning. Purists, if you will. I say, read the literature, read about others' experiences, but most importantly, read your child.
Have fun exploring food with your baby!