While for my younger, I adopt baby led weaning approach for him.
My eldest was spoon-fed, started with purees, he was introduced to a variety of different food, mixed puree combo which is loaded with nutrients, and he loved eating. He was slowly progressed to mashed/chopped texture food over the next few months, and started to introduce some finger food to him. If i remember correctly he hardly have difficult time with eating when he was young. It was when he turned 2 years old, and we wanted him to self-feed, and there the headache came. He would take forever to swallow his food, not wanting to scoop and eat, not wanting to eat this and that, every meal time is a battlefield with him. Really sick of those yelling and threatening so that he eats, properly.
I wasn't aware of baby led weaning during my eldest time, the word "baby-led-weaning" was only came to me after a few month I'd introduced solid food to him. My understanding of baby led weaning back then was as simple as it implies - a kid feeding himself, never did i know that the real meaning behind it. I knew that if i have a no.2, i would like to start him with baby led weaning after hearing all the goodness of blw and how well a child can eat. And there come baby no.2, i started to do some research to prepare myself better. And now it's been a year since my younger adopt blw and he is doing good. Nevertheless there are sweats and tears along the way but it is all worth it.
My thoughts on traditional weaning, it is easier to prepare the iron-rich or other nutrients-rich food for baby, LESS messy than baby led weaning, more suited to feeding on the go, easier for parents who worried about choking and gagging, and you are making sure your kid has a full meal. However, your kid might be "lazy" to feed himself as he is used to spoon-fed, not concentrating when he eats, tend to walk here and there (my eldest still do), and you gotta spend alot of time to instill the correct eating habit and teach him to eat properly. He would be gagging a lot when he started to eat textured food, because he is used to swallowing his puree, so when he tried to swallow textured food he would gag.
As for baby led weaning, there is no purees or mashed food, baby is not spoon-fed, he chooses what to eat, how much to eat and eat at his own pace. For parents who chooses to use blw approach, have to have strong heart. When he was first introduced to solid food, and every single time when he eats, i gotta watch him like a hawk in fear that he might choke, the gagging at the beginning part always give me the heart attack. I have been watching the choke first-aid video for the N times and still feeling paranoid. Gagging is part of the process, as opposed to traditional weaning, they learn to chew first before swallowing it. And a lot of time i actually feel like giving up and just want to spoon feed my younger, as he is not eating. He'd munch a few bites and then stop, the sight of him losing weight is just so demotivating. Plus the mess, and the clean-ups, it is no kidding.
And then again, i tried to be persistent and remind myself of the principles of blw, just baby-led. If he doesn't want to eat, it could means that he is full or he doesn't feel like eating. Milk is his primary food, while solid food is supplementary in first year of life. I tried to increase his meal time frequency, giving him more chance to practice eating, and having meals with us adult. It takes time see his progress and his loves for food. And now he can sit and scoop and eat properly. When he is done, he will let you know he is full. No forcing to eat, no coaxing, just let him eat at his own pace.
So i think the difference for both approaches is: TW is hard work later; BLW is hard work first. Your choice. A lot of time i received message like "i want to let my baby eat like your son, what should i feed him first? can i feed him apple first" etc etc, when messages like this sent to my inbox for the tenth times, that actually frustrates me, cos obviously people just follow suit without doing much research. Feeding baby without knowledge is dangerous (apple is high choking risk food).There are lots of different approaches to weaning, what is right for one family, won’t necessarily suit another. And important point is, irregardless of which method you use, do some research first before feeding baby, equip yourself with knowledge and be comfortable with your choice of feeding.