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What Must I Demand of My Mohel?

You, the parents, who are about to circumcise your son, may and must discuss certain issues with any prospective Mohel, so that you know if he is the Mohel who fulfills your needs:

If you are concerned about your child's health - verify that the Mohel sterilizes his instruments, as is required by the Health Department.

If it is important to you that your guests not wait unnecessarily before the ceremony - ask your Mohel to be punctual (you might consider asking your guests to arrive earlier than the time you set with the Mohel in case the guests arrive late and the Mohel is unable to wait.)

If you are interested in a house call ask the Mohel to come. Most Mohalim visit the baby in his own home prior to the circumcision to check that he is the proper weight and condition for circumcision. There are Mohalim who also visit after the circumcision - to ensure that the Brit area is healing properly. Others will check in by phone.

If you have questions regarding the upcoming circumcision - make sure that you have received answers.

The Mohel should instruct you clearly:
How to prepare the baby for the circumcision and how to care for the baby after the circumcision.
What symptoms should elicit concern.
How should you feed the baby (before and after), and diaper him.
What medications can be administered (before and after), and how should the circumcision wound - be washed, disinfected, bandaged, etc.

The Mohel is not certified to prescribe any prescription medications for the baby or to use sedatives in the form of drops, injections, or suppositories without your permission or a doctor's permission.

If you will need to contact the Mohel after the circumcision - take down his phone numbers and verify how easy it is to reach him. It is likely that you will have questions after the Brit and your Mohel must be available to answer them.

It is also highly recommended that you ask the Mohel to provide you with detailed instructions on after-Brit care and application of ointments. Very often, in the excitement of the moment, parents tend to forget many of the verbal instructions provided. This is natural, so make sure that you understand all of the instructions beforehand.

If you want to assign certain "kibbudim" (responsibilities during the Brit) to family or friends - discuss this with the Mohel. Your may designate specific relatives and friends to read some of the texts of the ceremony, to carry the baby to the Brit, and the like. Inform your Mohel which texts he will say, and which, others will recite.

If you want to avoid any hassles - review with the Mohel the day before the Brit what he expects you to bring with you to the Brit, and what he himself plans to bring. Who is bringing the wine? Who is bringing the Tallits, the Brit cushion, Elijah's chair? How many cloth diapers will he need? How should you dress the baby?

If you prefer a specific way of soothing your baby - discuss the matter with the Mohel in advance. Certain parents oppose having their child suck on a gauze pad dipped in wine, or prefer grape juice, a pacifier, or sugar water. The Mohel cannot guess your feelings if you don't express them!

If the child has any sort of medical problem, and if your family has genetic bleeding disorders (such as hemophilia) - you must inform your Mohel of this, so that all the proper precautions may be taken.