You might have heard it said there is no “manual” to being a parent, so reading books on being a dad is surely a waste of time?
While it’s true you can’t learn everything about parenting from a book, it’s actually incredibly helpful to read about the experiences of other dads, grab a few tips, or even learn about pregnancy so you can support your partner a little more. None of that is wasted time.
We have put together a list of the 10 best books for new dads available to buy now. Some are very informative for those who want all the detail, while others are there for a bit of light-hearted relief to prevent you from nervously chewing your fingernails off.
Here’s our pick of the best books for new dads…
1. Pregnancy for Men: the whole 9 months, £7.99
– Best for learning about pregnancy
What it is: The title is a giveaway, but then a good book title should tell you what you need to know and this book does that throughout.
It gives dads an excellent rundown on what to expect during the pregnancy, what your partner may be experiencing, as well as providing tips on how you can support them.
Why we love it: Some may find the humour a little “blokey” (and if you do, you might prefer the book on hypnobirthing later in this list), but it’s designed to put fathers-to-be at ease. Yes, there will be some new experiences and you might be a little anxious, but this book will guide you through the whole nine months with a few laughs along the way.
2. Dummy: the comedy and chaos of real-life parenting, £9.99
– Best for a relatable experience
What it is: Dummy is the Sunday Times top ten bestseller from Matt Coyne. It’s a refreshingly honest but positive take on the life of a parent in a way that you’ll be able to relate to.
Why we love it: We love this book because Matt is just a regular dad and his no-nonsense approach to describing the chaos, hilarity, failures and successes should reassure new dads that most of us stumble our way through parenthood. And that’s okay!
3. The Expectant Dad’s Survival Guide: Everything You Need To Know, £9.17
– Best for balance between humour and info
What it is: The Expectant Dad’s Survival Guide by Rob Kemp is somewhat a veteran in the world of books for dads. The original launched in 2010, back when there weren’t quite so many books for our tribe, but, filled with plenty of information, tips and real-life stories from other dads, it’s just as useful now as it was then.
Why we love it: It is just the perfect balance between humour (it genuinely made me laugh out loud) and detail. Some dad books have a tendency to skim the surface when it comes to pregnancy, birth and beyond, in favour of a laugh. Rob somehow manages to seamlessly switch between making the reader laugh to penning a paragraph on the perineum and episiotomy.
It’s always my personal recommendation to any father-to-be that I meet.
4. All New Dad Jokes, £10.99
– Best for a gift
What it is: What do you call a snowman with a six pack? An abdominal snowman.
If you found that funny and you have an incessant urge to share it with everyone even though you know they won’t find it funny, then this book is for you. Written by Kit Chilvers, it’s unsurprisingly full of terrible dad jokes and could make the perfect gift for the budding comedian in your life.
Why we love it: Because not all “books for dads” need to be serious reads aimed at changing your perspective on parenting. In fact, this book is a great reminder that your personality doesn’t completely disappear once you have children – if you told bad jokes before, why stop now?
5. Hypnobirthing: Practical Ways to Make Your Birth Better, £14.99
– Best for practical ways to support your partner
What it is: Hypnobirthing may sound new age, but author and co-founder of The Positive Birth Company Siobhan Miller explains the basis behind it (spoiler: it has nothing to do with hypnotism) as well as providing excellent all-round advice to help you and your partner enjoy a more positive birth.
Why we love it: There is building evidence and growing support for the hypnobirthing approach. And that’s the best way to think of it – a more positive approach to pregnancy, birth and beyond. We thoroughly enjoyed Siobhan’s online courses and my partner is without doubt that it played a huge role in our calm birthing experience.
6. A Dad’s Guide to Newborn Twins, £10.85
– Best for dads expecting twins
What it is: Authors Meghan Hertzfeldt and Jennifer Bonicelli take you through what to expect if you’re having twins. A thoughtful and practical book, offering tips such as the “double burp” (who knew?!), this is a must-read to help any dad juggle the joy that is twins.
Why we love it: It wasn’t that long ago that dads were bereft of choice when it came to books aimed at them. Now there is one aimed at fathers with twins, helping you to understand any potential birth complications as well as working out how on earth you’re going to get any sleep with two babies. There’s also real-life stories from parents of twins who have been there and done it, which is always welcome.
Available from: Amazon
7. Romesh Ranganathan: As Good As It Gets, £14.32
– Best for a dose of realism
What it is: The latest book from top comedian, and ever the pessimist, Romesh Ranganathan is a laugh-out-loud look at being middle aged. Billed as the funniest book of 2020, Romesh recounts numerous stories relating to life as an adult and father, often with hilarious consequences.
Why we love it: Romesh offers a refreshing and brutally honest look on life as an adult and parent with his unique brand of gloomy humour and an air of disappointment at how things have turned out. While not strictly a book for dads, it is written by one and we loved reading about Romesh’s child-related challenges. Ironically, we found it really uplifting!
8. Parenting for £1 and Other Baby Budget Hacks, £12.99
– Best for parenting hacks
What is it: Mark and Roxanne Hoyle, the parents behind the social media phenomenon that is Ladbaby, have written a light-hearted, fun guide to parenting on a budget with handy tricks and hacks that you might not have thought of.
Why we love it: We love the tongue-in-cheek humour that comes across in this book, which aims to bring some fun into parenting. Some of the hacks are certainly unique, but parents praise them for how simple and innovative they are. There’s everything from making a toolbox lunchbox to free trips to take, making an at-home ball pit, a DIY newborn photoshot and loads more.
9. Haynes Explains Babies, £6.25
– Best for a stocking filler
What it is: Haynes is famous the world over for its automotive manuals and obsessively detailed mechanical drawings. Now it has turned its attention to small humans in this short, but entertaining baby “workshop manual”.
Why we love it: Who said there was no such thing as a manual for babies? This 34-page Haynes Explains Babies is great fun, wonderfully put together and makes for a fantastic tongue-in-cheek gift for any new father-to-be. Handy sections include “Assembly & Production (pregnancy & birth)”, “Fuel (feeding”, “Emission Control Systems (wind)” and more.
10. Precious Little Sleep: the Complete Baby Sleep Guide for Modern Parents, £11.20
– Best for understanding baby sleep patterns
What it is: An excellent explanation of how babies sleep. And, yes, there’s a little more to it than you think, which this book delves into helping you understand your baby’s sleep patterns and how they will change over time.
The author goes beyond the dichotomy of your baby switching between “asleep” and being the worst alarm clock you could possibly think of. Instead, it teaches you how your baby’s sleep pattern is changing so you can change with them.
Why we love it: There’s no perfect recipe for getting babies to sleep, but misunderstanding why they aren’t sleeping can lead to more frustration because you may think you’re doing something wrong.
This book could genuinely be the key to unlocking better sleep for you, your partner and your baby. However, at the very least the knowledge gained should prevent you from blaming yourself or getting overly frustrated.
Available from: Amazon
About the author
Danny Morgan has been working as a journalist for more than 15 years and is is a first-time dad to one daughter, born in January 2021.
He quickly lost his inhibitions and any sense of dignity as he realised the shoulders of his clothes would be consistently marked by sick and dribble. Danny is keen to share his experience through MadeForMums so fathers have a bigger presence on parenting websites as well as providing a male perspective on everything from pushchairs to baby books.