It also suggests that fathers should be rewarded with gift vouchers if they attend antenatal classes.
Duncan Fisher, chief executive of Fathers Direct, claimed the guide was prompted by “compelling evidence that demonstrates the strong impact that fathers have on the health and well-being of mothers and babies, especially as fathers’ involvement increases during pregnancy, at birth and in baby care”.
Critics said the booklet was intrusive and patronising.
Prof Frank Furedi, the author of Paranoid Parenting, said: “It is treating men as complete morons who can’t work out for themselves how to wash their child’s ears.”
Children’s minister Beverley Hughes added that while the guide was not to be thought of as legally binding, it was designed to help new families and as such, would be distributed to midwives and doctors across the UK.