Q: Why is there so much anxiety associated with a circumcision?
A: Most of the anxiety is due to a fear of the unknown. Becoming knowledgeable about holistic circumcision can allay the natural anxiety parents feel when planning a circumcision for their son. Much of the anxiety comes from what parents learn in childbirth classes about the circumcision technique performed in the hospitals, a much more painful and invasive procedure often lasting 10 to 30 minutes. With my specialized technique, one need not worry as my procedure takes less than 20 seconds and is performed, as required by Jewish law, with minimal discomfort to the baby.
Q: Is it true that the 8th day is the best day to perform the circumcision?
A: Ideally, a circumcision of a healthy baby should be done on the 8th day or later. This is because the “clotting factors” reach their peak beginning on the eighth day. Because my technique is much more rapid and involves minimal discomfort to the baby, it is possible to perform the procedure up to 4 or 5 months old should it be necessary.
Q: Why should parents want or need to use a Mohel to perform a circumcision?
A: A Mohel is a person who is specially trained in the medical and surgical techniques of circumcision. In addition to being an expert in his field, the Mohel is also a Rabbi who is spiritually in touch with the miracle of birth and performs the circumcision not simply as a medical procedure, but as a holistic and spiritual act bonding parent and child. It is important to choose a Mohel with whom you feel comfortable, someone who will be accommodating to the specific needs of your family. Pediatricians, obstetricians and urologists constantly marvel at the work of a good mohel.
Q: How much pain does a baby feel?
A: This is the most important and frequently asked question of me. As a Mohel, who is judged every day by the sounds the baby makes both during and after the circumcision, it is one that I do not take lightly. The “success” of a Mohel is generally judged in three areas: 1. The baby’s comfort during and after the circumcision; 2. The Mohel’s “bedside” manner; and 3. The Pediatrician’s evaluation of the circumcision. Many studies have been performed to try to ascertain how much pain the baby feels. I myself participated in one that measured the difference in the baby’s discomfort level when the hospital/doctor techniques were used in comparison with the technique that I use. The results were startling. There were signs of minimal discomfort with my technique and severe discomfort with the standard medical techniques. This is because the Mohel is a specialist and will possess much more experience than most doctors. A doctor will strap the baby down on a molded plastic bodyboard placed on a table, use a very painful clamp (Plasti-bell or GOMCO) and the procedure may take up to twenty minutes or longer. Instead, I place the baby on a soft, comfortable pillow and do not strap him down. The instrument I use to perform the circumcision is not the same instrument used by a doctor. It is much more efficient with better results. Most importantly, a procedure should never take more than 20 seconds. There are topical creams, ointments and penile blocks that are available. As a Mohel with the technical expertise to perform adult circumcisions, as well as infants, I am able to use them, but they all have drawbacks when used on a newborn baby that far out weigh any benefit. I would be happy to discuss the pros and cons with you. I do use a special numbing agent following the circumcision. The overwhelming percentage of babies stop crying as soon as I replace the diaper and pick them up.