The vast majority of pregnancy and parenting books are either aimed squarely at women (maybe not surprisingly, at least on the pregnancy front) or at expectant or new-parent couples. Which means that they often don’t include much specific info for men about what to expect in their new role as expectant father and, then, new dad.
Hurray then for the small (but growing) batch of books on parenting or pregnancy that are written from a male perspective – all of them seeking to guide and inform dads-to-be and new dads, and share facts, tips and techniques that can help them, their partner and their baby in the life-changing months ahead.
Here’s our pick of the best books for dads-to-be and new dads…
1. Pregnancy for Men: the Whole 9 Months, £10.99
What it is: A month-by-month guide to pregnancy, from the viewpoint of the expectant dad. Written by a former news journalist who now works for Comic Relief, it mixes the author’s real-life experiences as a dad-to-be with the latest research and the viewpoint of other fathers.
Why we love it: It’s very informative – and funny without being too ‘blokey’. It has a nice, practical focus on how a dad-to-be can best help and support his partner, including some words-from-the-wise tips on what not to do or say.
2. The Expectant Dad’s Handbook, £12.99
What it is: A dad-to-be’s guide to ‘pregnancy, birth and beyond’ by an author who specialises in working with expectant fathers and teaches DaddyNatal classes.
Why we love it: It’s an easy, informative read and the content on labour is particularly good. Some may be irritated by the continual references to their partner as ‘Mum’ and their baby-to-be as ‘Baby’ but the tone is otherwise friendly and direct.
3. How to Be a Dad, £12.99
What it is: A book to answer “man questions” about pregnancy and fatherhood, according to its author, who’s a dad and a doctor (he was featured in Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E). He combines his medical knowledge with real life experiences to give advice that new fathers will easily relate to.
Why we love it: It’s fact-packed and really well written – in a chatty but knowledgeable way. We particularly like way the chapters are split into ‘From the Doctor’ and ‘From the Dad’, along a ‘What Women Want’ section (compiled from a survey of pregnant women) – offering really useful different perspectives on each topic.
4. Dummy, £9.99
What it is: A book full of honest and “completely impractical advice” on the “mystery and madness” of parenting from the creator of the incredibly popular Man v Baby blog.
Why we love it: It’s a very, very funny account of one man’s “winging it as I go” experience of being a dad. It doesn’t pretend to have all the answers (and that’s its charm) but it does make you feel reassured that all of us are in a little bit over our heads! Does contain strong language.
5. The Life of Dad, £12.99
What it is: This isn’t a how-to parenting book at all; it’s a look at the latest scientific research into fatherhood – and the (huge) part dads have to play in their children’s lives. Written by an evolutionary anthropologist who’s an expert on fatherhood.
Why we love it: It’s a fascinating read, full of insights about fatherhood, how much it’s changed in the past 50 years and how much it can change a man, too. We really like how well it shows what an important influence good dads are.
6. Commando Dad, £10.99
What it is: Written by an actual (former) Commando and dad of 3, this one’s a military-style manual on being an “elite dad” and taking care of your “troops”.
Why we love it: The military jargon is humorous yet positive, and the no-nonsense bullet-point style breaks down what might be quite an overwhelming tasks or how-tos into simple, easy-to-follow steps. Do note that, as this bestseller was first published in 2012, some of the info is a little out of date.
What it is: A parenting book, written in the style of a car mechanic’s manual, tackling everything from pregnancy and birth (production and delivery) to emission control (wind), pit stops (nappy changes) and routine maintenance (illnesses).
Why we love it: It’s one of those books you buy as a bit of a laugh – and it is a laugh – but we reckon it’s actually full of properly useful info and tips, too. And it goes all the way up to the teenage years and beyond…
8. From Here To Paternity, £10.99
What it is: A frank insight into the day-to-day experiences and emotions of being an expectant dad and new father, written in diary style.
Why we love it: It’s honest and, though often funny, deals with some difficult issues. But it isn’t a manual or an instruction book; it doesn’t tell you what to do. Should prompt some good partner-to-partner conversations.
9. Fatherhood: The Truth, £11.84
What it is: One of the first pregnancy and parenting books aimed at fathers, it guides dads and dads-to-be from conception to the 1st birthday with honest and humour.
Why we love it: It’s an oldie (2005) but a goodie and famously steers clear of “happy clappy clichés”, telling fatherhood like it is, the “fiery hell’ of night feeds, projectile vomiting and all. Funny and useful, and full of relatable dad quotes.
10. Debut Dads: The First Season of Fatherhood, £12.99
What it is: A guide to the 1st year of fatherhood for football-loving new dads. Included pre-season preparation plans and baby care set pieces, as well as 3am kick-offs and injury-time tips.
Why we love it: It’s not the throwaway footie jokefest you might think (although it is funny); it’s actually also jammed with great info and advice that’s all fully endorsed by a midwife and a psychologist. Well thought out and nicely written.