Here’s what I would like to share about starting solids. I started feeding my daughter solid food when she was 5 months old. I started with rice cereal, then I introduced orange vegetables, then green, and last fruit. This was based on the recommendation of my daughter’s pediatrician, different pediatricians have different recommendations; for instance, some may recommend starting with green veggies first. I suggest discussing any concerns and questions about introducing solids with your pediatrician and going with your gut feeling. The place I recommend (online) for good solid food feeding tips is http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/ I like the way the site is organized. As far as making your own baby food, I would recommend the book Super Baby Food.
My daughter now eats most things, still mainly in puree form. However, she can also eat chunks (like in many third stage foods) she also eats Gerber Puffs and Gerber Yogurt Melts, which she loves. We gave her Kraft cheese slices last week; I tore very small pieces of cheese and placed it on her high chair tray for her to pick up and eat on her own. She seemed to enjoy them. I am going to get her Cheerios today. (BTW if you live in Los Angeles, Pavillions/Vons have a special on Cheerios, I think until tomorrow; 2 boxes for $2.) Back to my daughter, she has now had most veggies and most fruit, chicken, meat, as well as fish; she had salmon for the first time on Satuday. I have not given her strawberries or raspberries, egg whites, and certain other foods associated with allergies; the site above, as well as your pediatrician (and of course any of your own research) are good resources as far as what foods not to introduce until age 1. (Whole milk is a definite no, until age 1.)