How to Prepare for Brit Milah

Parents have told me that they have found it helpful to discuss any concerns or anxiety about circumcision with each other and their friends. If you feel comfortable sharing these with me, I am also quite willing to talk to you.  Parents have also told me that going over the information on what occurs in the ceremony gave them a better understanding of what would happen and made them more comfortable.

Items You Need To Purchase:

  • Infant acetaminophen (Tylenol) drops (80 mg. per 0.8 ml).
  • 3” x 3” or 4” x 4” gauze pads, one or two boxes
  • petroleum or “unpetroleum” jelly (the latter is sold in health food stores and      co-ops). A tube is easier to use than a jar.
  • kosher wine (preferably a sweet one as the baby will have a taste) or kosher grape juice

Items You Need To Have Available:

  • baby outfit: please dress your son in a two-piece outfit or one that can be rolled up around his waist (not one with a zipper from the top to the toe).  A onesie is an alternative in warm weather.
  • bed pillow with a nice pillowcase. The baby will be lying on this during the ceremony.
  • a thin receiving blanket. He will be swaddled in this during the ceremony and afterwards
  • kippot (yarmulkes or skullcaps). If you don’t have enough for the number of guests anticipated, please let me know and I can bring some.

Preparation on the Day of the Brit Milah:

You may feed your son before the ceremony.  A hungry baby will be fussier and may feel more discomfort.  Give him acetaminophen drops a half hour to an hour before the ceremony is scheduled to start.  The first dose should be higher than subsequent ones, to get the level up in his system.

  • 5 pounds: 50 mg. (0.5 cc, or a little more than half a dropper)
  • 7 ½ pounds: 75 mg. (0.75 cc, or almost a full dropper)
  • 10 pounds: 100 mg. (1 cc, or a full dropper and a quarter)

You can adjust the dose based on your baby’s weight using the above guidelines.

Siblings

Children are of course welcome to be part of the ceremony. Depending on their age, older siblings may be able to read a prayer or say HaMotzi (the blessing over bread at the end of the service).  If your child is under the age of about 5, I ask that you assign a friend or relative to attend to their needs (including taking them out of the ceremony if they are unable to stay).

Guests

It is a mitzvah (good deed) to attend a Brit Milah.  Please ask guests to arrive 15 minutes early so that the ceremony can begin on time. You may want to put a sign on your front door that says, “Please come in” so that latecomers don’t have to knock during the ceremony. Cell phones and pagers should be turned off or set to vibrate.

Photography and videography are permitted during the ceremony, except at the time of the actual circumcision.

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