When my oldest was born I had never heard of baby led weaning (it's a bit of a redundant theme in my posts), so we did all the standard spoon fed purees and slowly introduced chunks. Because of his bad kidneys my second didn't really eat anything until he was 1 so he only did chunks and he self fed right away.
And then came my third child, I made 1 puree and he really disliked been spoon fed so I gave up, let him have the spoon and started from scratch with baby led weaning (BLW) at 6 months. It is so much easier then purees (very convenient with a 3rd child) and at 10 months he eats pretty much anything I give him and the same as us.
BLW and Montessori
Although different from the Montessori approach to feeding, BLW is popular with people who are Montessori-inspired for several reason:
it is child-led
the child has the freedom to self feed, and it is one of the first independent self care act they perform
the child can stop on his own when he is full, therefore learning healthy habits of not overeating
What do they eat?
Pretty much the same as us, but with no seasoning. I cut it in little chunks or long strips so he can grab the food.
Here are some ideas: Fruits:
pears, blueberries, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, bananas, slightly cooked apples, blackberries, oranges Veggies:
carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, okra (he LOVES it), potatoes, tomatoes, cauliflower, zucchini, green beans, bell pepper Grains:
pasta, bread, oatmeal Meats and dairy:
eggs (although mine does not like it), sausages, chicken, ham, turkey, cheese (because we are a French family!)
Also I want to mention regional differences: my first 2 were born on the West Coast and I was given a list of 20 items to not give until 1 year old and a shorter list to not give until 2. We are now in the South and I was told he can have anything starting at 6 months (except honey, wait until 1). So even though I was given much more freedom with my third boy, I'm still not as adventurous as I could be.
Where do they eat?
In our case he eats at his high chair because he eats all his snacks and meals with us and we eat at the table. If you want to be purely Montessori he would have to eat at a weaning table but we feel he should sit with us. My oldest, Alex, did have his own table next to ours.
How do they eat?
We offer him food on a plate, with a spoon and a weaning glass with water. The plate has a suction cup
so that it doesn't fall on the floor right away, but that is my own personal preference, and it is not Montessori. He likes to hold the spoon in the hand with which he does not eat. He loves using the weaning glass but at this point there has been much more water on the ground than in his mouth! but I say embrace the mess! We do not use a bib, but we never have, I think because my oldest used to rip the bib away every time.
Why we like it?
It gives him independence and an early start on portion control. It helps develop his pincher grip. In addition, it is much easier than purees and he can eat very similar to us.