Parenting books that cater to dudes-turned-dads are rising in popularity, and we’re here for it. Sure, there’s a lot of funny material out there, but there’s also plenty of solid information packed into the pages that deliver advice with an understanding of parenting from a guy’s POV. The best parenting books for dads contain crucial insights with a healthy dose of humor, as told by authors who have been down this road already.
Becoming a new parent has a massive learning curve and one of the best ways to prepare yourself is to do some research. Think putting a diaper on a baby comes naturally? Not for everyone. Did you know babies can’t have honey before they’re a year old? And what’s up with umbilical cords? From the basic (always pack an extra onesie when you leave the house) to the more complex (is circumcision right for your child?), parenting books help to answer the questions you’ve thought up and ones you never considered. How much and what stuff do you actually need for a newborn? (Hint: buy a sound machine and don’t forget the monitor.) Check the book.
If you’re a first-time father, a dad preparing to welcome twins or if you know a dad-to-be, consider picking up any of these parenting books for dads to make his day.
1. The New Father: A Dad’s Guide To The First Year
This parenting book for dads contains everything a new father would ever want to know about taking care of a baby during the first year. While this book makes an ideal gift for any dad, this is an especially nice book for the new dad who’s also a single father and figuring things out on his own. The month-by-month guide will get into the nitty-gritty of baby’s development, while also providing entertaining commentary which relates to experiences as a new dad.
2. From Dude To Dad: The Diaper Dude Guide To Pregnancy
BEST FOR SUPPORTIVE PARTNERS
This clever book walks daddies-to-be through the process of becoming a first-time father. Not only will this book help prep a new dad to conquer basic parenting tasks, like changing diapers and installing a car seat, but it also provides guidance (with humor, of course) on how to be the best partner possible throughout pregnancy and beyond.
Image courtesy of Amazon
3. Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook For New Dads
BEST FOR THE FIGURE-IT-OUT FATHER
This easy-to-read handbook makes for a great gift for dads, and he’ll love keeping it in arm’s reach once baby arrives. The survivor’s manual is perfect for the father who might be less than sure of how to handle the unexpected happenings of the first year. For the man that knows how to change his pickup truck’s oil but not a diaper, Be Prepared is the parenting book for him.
4. Show Dad How
BEST HOW-TO GUIDE FOR GUYS
Though this parenting book has been circulating for practically a decade, it still stands as one of the only parenting books for Dad that is completely illustrated. Containing over 150 things all dads must know, this manual compiled by former Executive Editor of Parenting, Shawn Bean, will provide major relief for a dad who needs just a little support. Thanks to its comprehensive overview of parenting advice, this is one of the best parenting books for dads.
5. Diaper Dude: The Ultimate Dad’s Guide To Surviving The First Two Years
BEST FOR THE FIRST TWO YEARS
From the same author of Dude to Dad (mentioned as our best overall parenting book for dads), Diaper Dude is the book all dads will want to refer to for the first two years of baby’s life. Taking on fatherhood at the front lines, author Chris Pegula compiles advice on parenting pitfalls to avoid. A main theme of this book surrounds new dads maintaining a strong sense of individuality, and it’s a super unique read that’s appreciated by readers.
6. Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool
FOR DADS WHO LIKE FACTS
Few people like facts more than economist Emily Oster. When the Brown University professor found herself pregnant years ago, she did what she always does in any new situation and gathered as much research as she could. Oster quickly found that there were giant gaps in information and data on basic pregnancy and parenting studies and set out to create a comprehensive and useful series of books to help new parents navigate an overwhelming amount of information. In her first book, Expecting Better, Oster focuses on pregnancy. In Cribsheet, Oster moves on to the early years, including preschool. What do studies really say about breastfeeding? Do we actually need to follow milestones stringently? Oster presents her findings in an easy-to-read format that helps parents make the best decisions for themselves and their families.
7. Parenting Made Complicated: What Science Really Knows About the Greatest Debates of Early Childhood
BEST FOR DADS WITH MORE THAN ONE KID
Child psychologist David Rettew has 20 years of experience and three of his own children to draw upon for his new book, Parenting Made Complicated: What Science Really Knows About the Greatest Debates of Early Childhood (out February 1, 2021). Rettew knows better than most that parenting two children the same way rarely yields positive results. In his new book, Rettew looks at the science and psychology behind different parenting techniques and helps readers figure out a plan that works best for their individual child. The book has chapters devoted to common and critical parenting issues, like how much screen time to allow, how to explain gender and support your child’s identity, and how to deal with children who are picky eaters.
8. Dad’s Guide to Twins: How to Survive the Twin Pregnancy and Prepare for Your Twins
FOR DADS EXPECTING TWINS
If one baby is a blessing, two babies are a double blessing, right? Right! Hearing two heartbeats during an ultrasound scan can invoke terror into the hearts of even the calmest parents, but it’s important to remember that twins are nothing new, even if they are new to you. An excellent resource for any first-time dads of twins, Joe Rawlinson’s book helps new parents navigate the basics, like potty training two babies at once and figuring out how to get not one, but two tiny people on a sleep schedule. Rawlinson, a dad to twin girls, also breaks down some of the scarier aspects of multiples, including birth complications and delivery, all while offering reassurance and useful information to new dads.
9. The Ultimate Guide for Gay Dads: Everything You Need to Know About LGBTQ Parenting But Are (Mostly) Afraid to Ask
BEST BOOK FOR GAY DADS
Many parenting books focus primarily on the mother, but what if the mother is not involved? Best-selling author and LGBTQ activist Eric Rosswood has written a book for gay dads that speak to the general needs of every parent, as well as issues that are specific to same-sex couples and specifically gay men. There are the more universal topics that make this a great book for all parents, including how to baby-proof your home and what to buy for a newborn, but the book also delves into more specific topics related to gay dads. Rosswood, along with legal and medical experts, provides guidance on topics like how to handle Mother’s Day, how to find LGBTQ-friendly pediatricians and schools, how to take time off work to care for a newborn, what names should be on a birth certificate, and how to navigate legal and personal issues around surrogacy and adoption. Parenthood can be an isolating endeavor or it can be one where a new community is formed, which is Rosswood’s goal with his book.
10. The Happiest Baby on the Block
FOR DADS WHO MISS SLEEPING
Do you know what’s not helpful to new parents? Other parents telling them they will never sleep again. Do you know what is helpful? Dr. Harvey Karp’s book on the five S’s, a step-by-step guide on how to get even the most colicky of babies to sleep. Karp’s book and methodology have helped thousands of parents get their babies (and themselves) to sleep at night. Karp has also created the uber-expensive Snoo bassinet, which takes the parent out of the equation and completes the five S’s on its own. But if you don’t have an extra $1,400 laying around, Karp’s book is a much more affordable way to get a good night’s sleep.
11. New Dad’s Playbook
FOR THE SPORTS-LOVING DAD
For the dad who wants to be ready for the pre-season (pregnancy), game day (birth) and post-season (everything following labor), there’s the New Dad’s Playbook. Written by Benjamin Watson, a Super Bowl champion, tight end for the Baltimore Ravens and most importantly, a father of five, New Dad’s Playbook is half a how-to guide for new dads and half a book that inspires confidence in even the most nervous of new dads. An excellent choice for dads who are not into ‘typical’ parenting books but still want to be prepared to be the best partner and father they can be, Watson’s book puts common parenting quandaries into terms that are relatable and inspiring.
12. We’re Parents! The New Dad Book for Baby’s First Year: Everything You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive Together
FOR DADS WHO DON’T HAVE MUCH TIME
Reading a thick book on parenthood is a great way to prepare yourself for a new stage in your life. But what if you just need something short and digestible to get the basics? For dads who are committed to being great parents but not so much to reading, we recommend We’re Parents! The New Dad Book for Baby’s First Year: Everything You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive Together. Author and four-time dad Adrian Kulp quickly and succinctly explains some of the most important parenting basics. The first year of a child’s life is broken down into digestible quarters in Kulp’s book, making it easy for new dads to be prepared for each milestone and help to record some of the big moments in their child’s life.
13. How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7
FOR DADS WITH OLDER KIDS
Do you know a dad who is struggling through the terrible twos (and tough threes, frightening fours, fearsome fives, scary sixes and shocking sevens)? They need How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7. The book was written by Joanna Faber, whose mother Adele Faber wrote the bestselling How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. The new book, which was co-authored by Princeton and Yale graduate and parenting expert Julie King, is an updated version that helps with the same basic parenting problems addressed in the first book as well as newer issues. Faber and King wrote their book with real-world examples, making for an easy and informative read that helps parents dealing with everyday issues. The book also includes a chapter on parents of children with special needs, including those with sensory processing disorders and children who are on the autism spectrum.
14. Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood
FOR ANYONE WHO DOESN’T LIKE SELF-HELP BOOKS
For a dad-to-be who doesn’t want a self-help book on parenting but instead needs something that helps normalize the new stage of his life, there is Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood. Best-selling author Michael Lewis, who is known for novels like Moneyball and The Blind Side, decided to record the first year of parenthood for all three of his children. The result is a shockingly honest and often times relatable look at the wonder, bewilderment and sometimes banal parts of fatherhood.
15. Sidekick: A Pregnancy Field Guide for Dudes
FOR THE DAD WHO NEEDS SOME REMINDERS
Military veteran and author Brig Berthold knows the importance of being prepared, which is why he has written a book to help new dads navigate potential landmines of pregnancy and fatherhood. The basic field guide provides straightforward advice to new dads who may need a little help remembering that their new role is to help take care of someone else, which can sometimes mean cleaning and cooking for their partner. Basic? Yes. Needs to be said to some dads? Also yes.
16. Your Baby’s First Word Will Be DADA
BEST BABY BOOK FOR DADS
This is a must-have book for dads. Your Baby’s First Word Will Be DADA by Jimmy Fallon is a genius baby book that contains pages packed with punchy tips to let any dad know how to make sure their babe’s first word is anything but, “Mama!” The best part? It’s written like a storybook so it can be read with baby over a bonding session.
17. The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies To Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind
BEST FOR PARENTING KIDS
This New York Times bestseller provides simple yet effective solutions and a revolutionary approach to child-rearing through 12 different strategies designed to shape little ones into happier, more fulfilled and peaceful children. With this book, every outburst or tantrum turns into an opportunity to foster growth. Once Dad masters the strategies outlined in this fatherhood book, he’ll get a confidence boost that’s vital to his experience as a parent.