Re: How many times a day?
I think the advice on solids tends to be tailored to moms who are either formula-feeding or are planning to wean at or before 1 year of age. These moms want to get their babies off the bottle/breast as fast as possible, and the advice to feeds babies "meals" is designed to help these moms replace bottle/breast with solids.
I personally start with a little taste of solid food once a day. Until around a year, breastmilk alone meets all a baby's nutritional needs, so there's no need to push the baby to eat a lot of them, especially because solids are not as nutritionally complete or as calorie-rich as breastmilk. So think in terms of the baby trying a teaspoon or two of solids. And you want the solids experience to be all about exploration and play. So let the baby explore different tastes and textures, and explore the solids with both mouth and hands.
As the baby gets more comfortable with solids, you can progress to including him in family meals. Sit him in his high chair at dinner time and let him play with a bowl and a spoon and some solid foods. Good starter finger foods for babies include things like smashed green peas, shredded soft-cooked meats, cheerios, mashed sweet potatoes, mashed cooked carrots, etc. (If the baby doesn't have the pincer grasp necessary to handle a squashed green pea or something like it, he's probably not ready for solids yet.)
Oh- and remember that until a year you want to nurse before offering solids. Fill baby up on milk, and reserve solids for exploration of new oral and motor skills.
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!"