Re: So confused...
The lady at Gerber is wrong. It's not her job to reinforce your confidence or to give you accurate information, but rather to sell as many jars of purees as possible.
My pediatrician would tell you that until a year, breastmilk alone is sufficient to meet all a child's nutritional needs. This is true for super-active early walkers and sedentary babies alike. Until the first birthday, solids are more or less only for play, and for experimenting with new motor skills, tastes, and textures. After a year, solids become an increasingly important part of a baby's diet, but the transition from needing only mama's milk to a majority solid food diet is a gradual one, with many babies not eating much solid food until they are well into their second year. You can expect your baby's eating habits WRT solids to be inconsistent. Some days she will gobble up a ton of solid food, other days she will seem to subsist solely on air and breastmilk.
At 11 months old, you should feel free to feed your LO table foods (with the exception of honey- don't give that until >12 months- and choke-y foods like nuts and hot dogs). When you are preparing your meals, set aside small portions and give them to your LO, and let her experiment with getting them into her mouth. Don't get upset if she tastes them and then spits them out, or prefers to just squash them with her hands and drop them on the floor. It's part of the learning process.
Good foods for self-feeders:
Beans (my toddler will eat a can of black beans if you let her!)
Pasta- especially spaghetti, since it's easy to pick up
Meats- dice it or shred it, particularly if your LO doesn't have many teeth yet
Soft-cooked vegetables (zucchini, tomato, carrot, etc.)
fresh tomato chunks
Soft fruit (bananas, peaches, pears)
WRT to your new job- first of all, congratulations! You can definitely pump and pump breastmilk in a sippy cup, or if you prefer, after 12 months you can offer whole cow's milk. It's up to you.
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"