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5 best books for expecting dads that every first-time father should read

Read these books if you are soon to be a newbie dad

Couple smiling at pregnancy test

Don’t know what to expect when you’re going to be a first-time dad? You’re not alone. A lot of dads-to-be experience the same feelings. Getting a positive pregnancy test can be just as intimidating, overwhelming, exciting, and nerve wracking for first-time fathers as it is for newbie mamas. While nine months may sound like a sufficient chunk of time to plan and prepare for a baby, the time goes by pretty quickly.

Want to make sure you’re setting yourself and your growing family up for success? Fatherhood doesn’t exactly come with a roadmap. Being a good dad starts with empathy and education. So, pull up a chair and get out a great book on the subject of being a new father. It’s time to learn all about the incredible adventure that is parenting. We’ve rounded up the best books for expecting dads. It’s time to learn what to expect when you’re about to be a first-time father.

Best books for expecting dads

Pregnancy books aren’t just for moms-to-be. There are actually quite a few titles aimed at expecting dads. With so many titles at your fingertips, though, it can be difficult for an anxious father-to-be to choose the right ones. To help, we’ve got your go-to list for the top reads for fathers-to-be should have on their nightstand.

We’re Pregnant! The First Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook

The mom may be the one who is pregnant, but soon-to-be fathers also go through a transformation of sorts. This handbook for fathers encourages dads to participate in their partner’s pregnancy and take an active role as a dad from day one. It covers how to help with the woes of pregnancy, how to have input on creating a birth plan, and how to create a parenting style that works for your expanding family. This first-time dad book is a must-have for nervous newbies.

The Baby Owner’s Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance

You can already install a dishwasher, set up Wi-Fi, and assemble an unnecessarily complicated Ikea crib. So, that must mean you have got this parenting gig in the bag, right? Not necessarily. The Baby Owner’s Manual breaks down all the baby-rearing tasks into simple instructions and humorous diagrams. Want to know how to change a dirty diaper or swaddle a baby like a pro? In this go-to book, dads get an illustrated step-by-step guide on those baby essentials plus some words of wisdom provided by pediatrician Dr. Louis Borgenicht and his adult son, Joe Borgenicht.

The New Dad’s Survival Guide: Man-to-Man Advice for First-Time Fathers

As veteran parents already know, parenting is not a walk in the park. It’s probably one of the most difficult things you’ll do in life. This manual-style book does not sugarcoat new parenthood. It breaks down all the things you could ever want to know about pregnancy and child-rearing and then some. From how to cut the cord to surviving sleep deprivation to changes in bodily functions to “the great boob irony,” postpartum sex, and more. With humor and well, frankness, author Scott Mactavish shares the basic facts and secrets of what he calls the “Baby Code.”

The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-Be

Broken down into monthly updates, this book helps dads navigate the physical, mental, and emotional transition of pregnancy from a male perspective, as well as that of an expecting partner. It shares updates on the baby’s development, and, most importantly, helps soon-to-be dads identify specific ways they can be active participants from the get-go. There is also a resource section dads can refer to in a pinch, with specific information on key topics ranging from pregnancy woes to early parenting challenges.

Dude, You’re Gonna Be a Dad!: How to Get (Both of You) Through the Next 9

John Pfeiffer’s top takeaway for dads is instead of focusing on your partner’s pregnancy, focus on all the big and small things you can do to make her life easier, better, and less uncomfortable. This book teaches dads to be the ultimate game-day or rather, nine-month-long coach. With a conversational tone and a humorous approach, Pfeiffer uses his own experience to help dads not mess up along this tumultuous journey.

Pregnant couple cuddling
Ground Picture/Shutterstock

Other top reads for expecting dads

If you’re a dad-to-be who has to read everything there is to know before the big day arrives, here are a few more titles to be sure to read to help prepare for the next exciting and challenging chapter of your life.

  • by James Douglas Barron: This book has been around for a while, but the advice hasn’t changed all that much. Barron offers up a humorous and straightforward look at what dads should expect from those first anxious visits to the obstetrician and beyond.
  • by Harvey Karp M.D.: Many dads-to-be fret about never being able to have a good night’s sleep again. Well, there are sleepless nights ahead, but many parents swear by Karp’s techniques for soothing crying infants.
  • by Philippa Perry: If your family gets a big laugh at all the crazy things your parents did when you were little, then this is a perfect read for you. Perry’s book is a Sunday Times bestseller and offers up important advice for fostering positive relationships with the people you care most about — your partner and your little one on the way.
Expecting mom and dad on computer
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Best expecting dad books if you have the time

Being a dad is the biggest and most important job you’ll ever have. If you’re still feeling unprepared, read these two expectant dad books.

  • by editors of Fatherly
  • by Chris Pegula and Frank Meyer

A dad reading to baby in mom's belly

One more note on books for expecting dads

Becoming a dad may sound daunting regardless of whether you have experience with kids or not. The changes that accompany your partner’s pregnancy alone might be overwhelming for some men. When it comes to preparing for the birth of your baby, knowledge is power. For expecting dads, a little learning can be empowering. Reading up on pregnancy and parenthood helps dads-to-be to know what is coming and how to handle it.

Pregnancy and baby books are not just for women. Fathers need to be prepared too. Taking the time to read these best books for expectant dads will help new fathers know what to expect when their partner is expecting and what comes after.

Editors' Recommendations

Lauren Barth
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Lauren Barth is a freelance writer and digital editor with over a decade of experience creating lifestyle, parenting, travel…
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