All kids are different so it's hard to compare. However, here's what mine were doing. At 7 months, my kids were eating 3 meals a day at the table with the rest of the family. About half of what they ate were the same foods, just cut into pea-size pieces so they could pick them up and feed themselves. I usually gave them something we didn't have, like a banana or avacado, that they could eat. If we had meat, I used the hand grinder and then spoon fed it to them. They had a sippy cup of water with meals. They nursed at snack-time (morning and afternoon) and at bedtime and at other times during the day when they got hungry.
My son hated the spoon by around 7 months and when he was 8 months old we stopped all spoon-fed items completely until he learned how to use it to feed himself around 13-15 months. My daughter wanted to stop all spoon-feeding around 9 months and learned to feed herself with a spoon around 15 months. The reason I had to cut everything into bite-size chunks was because neither kid had front teeth to take bites off.... the kids got their first tooth after their first birthday. Babies can gum pretty much anything.
My son was on stage 1 food for like a week. It was too runny for him to manuveur to the back of his mouth and he just got frustrated. More food came out than went in. So we went to stage 2 right away and he liked it much better. With my daughter, we skipped stage 1 completely and just started at stage 2 at 5-6 months. I stopped buying 'baby food' completely for both kids by the time they were 6-7 months old because it's not needed. Just fork-smash whatever the rest of the family is eating. They'll get a wider variety of tastes, textures and seasoning... which means much less chance of having a picky eater when they are toddlers or preschoolers (my kids will eat anything put in front of them... even 'wierd' new ethnic foods).
One more note concerning allergies. We have no allergies in our family. Our ped told us to not worry about waiting a few days between new foods. The reasoning makes sense. It can take eating something 5-15 times or more to develop an allergy so even if you wait a couple days before introducing a new food, you still need to play detective because you have no idea what the allergy is to. So you might as well just feed them what the rest of the family eats. My son was born in CA and everyone we knew got the same advice from their peds. I didn't know people did the 'give 1 food and then wait 3 days things' anymore until we moved back to the midwest! Everyone we knew on the west coast stopped doing that 5+ years ago!