I know that, in general, fathers don't visit here, but I've been concerned, and my wife is too busy feeding our son (more on that in a moment) to check or post, so I thought I'd post my anxieties here in the hopes that someone could help us out.
Our son is 3 weeks old and up until yesterday has pretty much exclusively breastfed (I say "pretty much" because we did give him some supplemental bottles, but if you totaled all the supplemental bottles we gave before yesterday, it'd probably come out to 6 or 7). However his habits have been abnormal. My wife, lately can - and has - feed him round the clock. Literally. I don't mean feed for 45 minutes, then he sleeps for 30, then he feeds again. I mean that the other day he was on the breast for over 6 hours. He'd doze, she'd put him down, he'd cry immediately. She'd pick him up, he'd suck two or three times, then fall asleep, etc. etc.
I should add that he regained his birth weight (and then some) by two weeks, but my wife's nursing sessions were unusually long. Like 2+ hours sometimes. Often, I'd say. Maybe longer.
It was getting to the point where my wife couldn't sleep or eat properly. Add that to the fact that over the past week it got worse. My son would start screaming (not crying; SCREAMING!) when he'd poop, and that he was having green, leafy looking stools, and we were mightily concerned.
We brought our DS to his pediatrician yesterday who listened patiently, and then nodded and said, "This is normal. He's not getting enough to eat. He falls asleep because he fills with air, and then wakes up as soon as it's expelled. The green, leafy stools are - and please don't be alarmed when you hear the term - called 'starvation stools.'" He advised my wife to start every feeding of my son at the breast for 5 minutes. Then switch to the other breast for 15 minutes. His logic was that 80-90% of the quantity of the milk is received in the first 4-7 minutes of a feed at the breast. So any more, and the baby is gulping air. After feeding at both breasts, the pediatrician advised that we feed our DS a supplemental bottle of formula, and to do this every time she (my wife) feeds our son. He added that we should call him to follow up on Sunday or Monday.
Now, the formula pacified my son. There's no doubt about it. He's a completely different child. He's calm. He seems content. He sleeps during the day, whereas he never slept during the day before. But I'm concerned (as is my wife) that while we do this, her supply is dwindling, and that 'recovering' will be that much more difficult. When I asked the pediatrician about her pumping, he kind of shrugged it off and said it wasn't necessary.
We would like to go back to exclusively BF'ing if we can. But I'm afraid if we do, we will recreate the situation we had on our hands for the past few weeks - an uncomfortable papa (but I can deal with that), a VERY uncomfortable mama (which I can deal less with) and a VERY, VERY angry and uncomfortable little boy (which breaks my heart).
I'm desperate for advice. I don't want to keep supplementing if we can avoid it. I want this little boy to learn how to suck!