I can't recommend this book or this method highly enough. We turned to baby-led weaning when our daughter declined to eat solids well after her six-month birthday. We never bought into the rice-cereal orthodoxy, so we began by trying to feed her bits of avocado and banana from our fingers, but she wanted none of it. We tried pureed apples and pears, and then rice and oat cereal with breast milk, but she didn't like being spoon-fed. While we cooled our heels for a few weeks I learned about baby-led weaning, and by about eight months she was ready to go. The key to this method is that the baby is in control -- apart from placing food on her tray, you don't actually feed her. She inspects the food, chooses what she wants, and feeds herself.
Rapley and Murkett are careful and thorough (yet friendly and conversational) in addressing concerns about choking, allergies, and so on. But the immediate benefit of BLW is that it is SO much easier to give your baby real food than to deal with steaming and pureeing (what a bore!). Soon after we started, my daughter was eating solid apples -- we'd cut them into the appropriate finger shape and she'd shave bits of apple flesh off with her two little teeth. Now she loves eating from a whole apple; I eat a chunk of it to expose the flesh, and off she goes. At nine months she has eaten uncooked apples and pears, whole cooked peas and carrot sticks, buttered whole-wheat toast, cheese, pasta, sausage, chicken, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, curried vegetables, and basmati rice, all using her hands, and she drinks water from a regular cup with assistance. It's thrilling to watch her engage with new tastes and textures. She doesn't eat everything we offer, but she's getting more and more enthusiastic about new things. She surprises people at family dinners because she is well "ahead" of her thirteen-month-old cousin, who is still spoon-fed -- I say that not to be competitive, but just to show how effective baby-led weaning really is. We're so proud of how well she's learning to eat, and a lot of the credit goes to this book for its totally intuitive (not "new," as another reviewer argued) advice and reassurance.