While AYTD is, of course, your first port of call for advice and guidance on fatherhood, if someone wants to gift you a book to mark becoming a father, suggest one from this list of best books for new dads, as voted by us of course.
10 Of The Best Books For New Dads
Like most things related to babies and parenthood there has always been a swag of literature devoted to motherhood but until about a decade ago, fathers were mostly neglected by the book publishing world.
Of course, once that industry cottoned on to the fact men needed information and advice on what was coming down the birth canal, arguably more so than women, there has been an avalanche of ‘dad’ books.
Many are fairly dry and perfunctory, like What To Expect When You’re Expecting, while many others quickly realised that the best ways to get men’s attention when it came to pregnancy, birth and new fatherhood was to associate the topic with their favourite past-times such as sport, humour and manly pursuits.
ATYD has scanned the shelves to come up with the best books for new dads that are actually worthwhile reads, whether expecting, freshly arrived or a couple of years into the hardest but most rewarding job you’ll ever have.
RELATED: Parenting Tips And Advice From Everyday DadsCommando Dad by Neil Sinclair
From the genre of ‘dad-who-also-does-something-you’re-probably-interested-in’, father of three Sinclair was a real-life commando who first published this book in 2012. As a result of this experience, he approached new fatherhood from the perspective of his training, presenting tips, suggestions and advice in the form of an army-like “basic training manual”. That means no-nonsense copy on how to survive the first 24 hours, how to prepare and plan to prevent poor parental performance (the six ‘Ps’), maintain morale in the ranks, feed, clothe, transport and entertain your troops, deal with “minor combat injuries”, transport the troops successfully on manoeuvres, and increase your “flash to bang” time. A-TEN-SHUN!Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-First-Century Parenthood by Drew Magary
Magary’s book is one of the better examples of an increasingly popular ‘dad book’ genre which takes as its basic premise the fact that the fathering life is messy and chaotic, so let’s all have a laugh at it together. Most of Magary’s parenting experiences will probably not strike you as particularly unique, but he has a way of conveying then, from getting drunk while trick-or-treating, telling dirty jokes to make bath time go smoothly, or committing petty vandalism to bond with a five-year-old.The Expectant Dad’s Survival Guide: Everything You Need To Know by Rob Kemp
Kemp has written extensively on parenting and fatherhood for men’s magazines and online resources and has put together a highly accessible and useful book for those expecting and in the first few weeks of fatherhood. This particular book for new dads is mostly practical advice and techniques, anchored in expect advice from midwives, doctors, psychologists and paediatricians, and covering everything from buying baby gear to how to “cut the cord” after the birth. The Life of Dad by Dr Anna Machin
The good doctor’s book is based on a decade-long study of new and expectant fathers, inspired by questions from men such as “Will fatherhood change me?” Bringing together a range of scientific research in neuroscience, genetics, physiology and psychology, Machin reinforces how important fathering is to the eventual outcome – a child who grows into a healthy and happy adult. Not for those looking for immediate and practical parenting tips, this is more a crucial read on the bigger questions of how and why when it comes to child-raising.How It Works: The Dad by Jason Hazeley
From the piss-take Ladybird series, which includes How it Works: The Wife,
How it Works: The Mum and The Ladybird Book of the Mid-Life Crisis, this faux self-help guide with beautifully retro illustrations and minimal text in large font pricks some of the pomposity in the best books for new dads space. Nevertheless, it contains some pithy and insightful observations, humorously treated, from bad dad jokes to the stinginess that besets all men after the birth of his first child. Serious, not serious.Pacify Me by Chris Mancini
Another humorous take on impending fatherhood, comedian Mancini’s tome is ideal for that “man-child” who is fairly freaking out about the prospect of real responsibility. His series of wryly observed essays deal with everything from the pregnancy to delivery, adjusting to the new arrival and the little one’s first years. And while Mancini’s barely suppressed hysteria is funny, there’s also some real insight and useful advice in these pages, from dealing with a crying child to how soon you can expect to experience sex with your beloved again.
For the text-averse, this may be the perfect book. Bean is the executive editor of Parenting magazine so you can expect well-researched, authoritative and road-tested information. Thankfully, despite the weight of the subject, it’s lightly presented, Bean channelling an IKEA instruction manual style and using clear, simple illustrations to guide the new father through the basics in an accurate, useful and occasionally funny guide.Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
Well-known stand-up Gaffigan brings his comic take on life to the subject of fatherhood, one he knows well as a father of five. “Outnumbered” in his own home, Gaffigan’s funny observations on the chaos of family life book won’t exactly equip you for the practical problems of being a new father but it will help you deal with the stress by making you realise you’re not alone. From his observation that cousins are like “celebrities for little kids” to noting that “there is no difference between a four-year-old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”, Gaffigan nails “the joys” of domesticity.Geek Dad by Ken Denmead
This one is for the dad of slightly older kids looking for something, anything, to do to kill some time and stop them destroying the house. From making your own cartoons and ‘electronic’ origami to creating your own board game, ‘model building with cake’, making a superhero book and home hydroponics, Denmead provides a bunch of projects which will test their imaginations, pose problems to solve and help them bond with their dad.The Reluctant Father by Phillip Toledano
It’s a fact of life that not all men fully embrace impending fatherhood. For many, it’s a terrifying time, particularly if, like Phillip Toledano, you never really visualised yourself as a dad. Toledano became a father at 40 and soon realised that initially, he didn’t experience the overwhelming love for his child that he expected to experience. This book chronicles his confusing, challenging journey to find that love in the first 18 months of his daughter’s life. Despite the subject matter, it’s a funny, emotional rumination which will provide succour to any guy going through a similar experience.
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