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What it's Like Being an Insta-Dad

Noam Dekel gives us a glimpse at life behind the feed.

What it's Like Being an Insta-Dad
*We’ve partnered with BabyBjörn to show how modern dads are redefining parenting norms. We often hear the phrase: the woman behind the man. But what about the man behind the woman? Especially when that woman is a fast growing star on the Insta-mama scene? We’ve been wondering just that ever since we caught a glimpse of Noam Dekel on Dikla Goren (aka, Girl Plus Two)’s Instagram feed. Dikla’s handsome husband can often be spotted juggling several (or all!) of the Israeli couple’s 3 kids, and we can only imagine how much he’s wrangling behind the scenes to help make it all look so effortless...even when we know it can’t possibly be. It turns out this Brooklyn daddy is truly as hands-on as it seems. Noam tirelessly supports his wife while she pursues her dream career, and he balances his real estate development job and caregiving on the daily. Which is why we thought he’d be the perfect fit for our BabyBjörn #dadstories series, featuring fathers who are not just talking the talk, but also walking the walk. Often literally…while babywearing. Below, Noam talks about the juggle familiar to so many corporate dads who want to truly be present in their children’s and partner’s lives, and gives us a glimpse into what life looks like when you’re the man behind the mom on everyone’s Instagram feed. What did you think fatherhood would be like before you had your first baby and how has the reality matched up to that? I always wanted to be a dad, but I didn't really know what to expect before our first baby, Yuli, was born. I knew it would be exciting, hard and rewarding, but not how exciting, hard, and rewarding. The reality was much stronger and more powerful than what I had envisioned, as far the hard work and responsibility. But the priceless moments definitely made it worth it. There's nothing I like more than hearing my kids say, "I love you Aba!" What does being "present" as a father mean to you? It means a lot to me. I see many friends who are very busy with their work and the regular routine. Luckily, I get to spend more time with my kids than the average person. In my eyes, it's very important for your child to have a father figure, and I always remembered looking up to my father to teach me the important things. Is it hard to unplug from the responsibilities you have at the office? It's very important to unplug from work (even though it's hard sometimes) because the kids want to spend time with you and they need your full attention. It's also nicer to listen to them instead of checking my phone every second, so I try to do my best in this area, and if I forget, they like to remind me. What's your typical schedule during the week/weekend with the kids? From Monday through Friday, I take the boys to school and daycare and Dikla picks them up. Usually, I take our oldest son Yuli to swimming and tennis class, but in the past couple of months, Dikla has been doing so because I have been really busy with work. On the days that I'm free for lunch, Dikla will pick up the kids from school and take them out to the park for lunch, and I will join them for a little bit. When we all come home in the evening, I usually play with them for a little and then get them ready for bed. My weekends are mostly spent with the kids. It’s a time for us to kick back and relax, even though it doesn't always feel that way. We usually spend the day all together making breakfast/brunch. The kids love to make French toast with Dikla, or Shakshuka with me, every weekend, even when we are on vacation. Why is getting out and about with the kids so important to you? Because if we don't, they will go nuts indoors and drive their parents crazy! I like to travel lightly so I can be flexible. I don't really like strollers, especially the huge double ones. The BabyBjörn Carrier One is so comfortable and it even looks good! It’s definitely much easier to maneuver when we have our little princess in the BabyBjörn, while the boys play in the playground. How are you and Dikla a parenting team? We are really trying to share to load. I'm sure sometimes one of us ends up doing more than the other but generally, I take the mornings: waking up early with the kids, getting them dressed, feeding them breakfast and taking them to school. Dikla is not a morning person so we let her sleep in the mornings. On the other hand, Dikla takes care of the night shifts with Romi, which usually entails waking up two or three times a night. What's it like when Dikla isn't around and you've got all 3 kids? It doesn't happen a lot, but when it does, I enjoy the alone time with them a lot. I try to play a game that everyone can enjoy together or do an activity that they all can be part of. This is especially hard to do because each child wants your full attention (and all of them are under 6 years old!). Dikla's Instagram feed makes parenting look so beautiful....but are there days you wish your life wasn't on camera? How do you draw the lines between private and public? Parenting is a beautiful thing indeed, and you are correct, sometimes I do like a break from the “camera." But you get use to it, and above all, I'm supporting my wife, so if that's what I have to do, I will keep doing it with a smile. What's one piece of advice you'd give a father-to-be? Always be calm and cool regardless the situation. Never freak out. Original photography by Ren’ee Kahn-Bresler for Well Rounded. Check out BabyBjörn’s #dadstories here, then share your own on Instagram (or get the dad in your life to share his!) using the hashtag #dadstories. Don’t forget to tag @wellroundedny and @babybjorn_us!

SHOP NOAM'S BABYBJÖRN STYLE

Babybjörn Carrier One in Leaf Print

Babybjörn High Chair in White

Babybjorn Bouncer Bliss

After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

$200

Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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