Skip to main content

NewFolks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

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

All newbie fathers should take a look at these books

A dad reading to baby in mom's belly.
Nichizhenova Elena / Shutterstock

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 of having no idea what’s going on. Getting a positive pregnancy test is 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. You should put that time to good use and check out reading material to prepare you, like some of the best books for expecting dads.

Fatherhood doesn’t exactly come with a roadmap, either — the same as motherhood doesn’t. Being a good dad starts with empathy and education. So, pull up a chair and get out a great book on the topic of being a new father. It’s time to learn all about the incredible adventure that is parenting, from the dad’s point of view. We’ve rounded up the best books for expecting dads, so you’ll learn what to expect when you’re about to be a first-time father.

Man listening for baby.
fizkes / Shutterstock

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 nightstands.

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 that 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 to 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 to do to make her life easier, better, and less uncomfortable. This book teaches dads to be the ultimate game-day 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 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, 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 man handing pregnant person a hot drink.
oliveromg / Shutterstock

Books that help with multiples and the mental load

There are a few unique books for newbie dads to read if they fit their situation. Not all parents have one baby at a time, so knowing how to deal with multiples would be a good book topic. And, yes, the mother’s mental health is first and foremost the main character, but we can’t forget about what could be going on in dad’s head when figuring out fatherhood.

A Dad’s Guide to Newborn Twins

Unleash Your Inner Super Dad by Jennifer Bonicelli and Meghan Hertzfeld: Twin parents are in another league, and there’s a dad book for preparing for that. Not only would being a first-time parent to one be enough, but knowing you are going to have multiples at the same time might need a more in-depth guide to get you through.

Parental Mental Health

Factoring in Fathers by Daniel B. Singley and Jane I. Honikman: Protecting the mental health of a new mother is crucial, but we shouldn’t forget about the dad, either. He won’t be able to support his partner if his mental health isn’t intact.

Parents smiling while holding newborn.
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

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 is 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. These amazing books will get your village ready for this new journey so Mom isn’t doing it all alone.

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…
When do babies start walking? This is what you should expect
This is when you should have the house baby-proofed
Toddler boy walking around

We bribe. We beg. We will set that baby up for those first steps any way we can. But your little one will not start walking before they're ready. When is that? When do babies start walking? It's the next major milestone after crawling, and parents cannot wait to capture the moment their baby discovers they have two feet that will take them anywhere. If you have a baby who's about to become a walker, this is what you should expect before the first step is attempted.
Look for clues to tell when your baby will start walking

First things first — there are markers to watch out for to know your baby is about to walk. If you keep an eye on that little human of yours, they give hints as to when they're ready to start walking. By then, you can obsessively watch them so you don't miss a step.
Your baby will hit these milestones when it's almost time to walk

Read more
Why you should totally treat yourself to prenatal massages while pregnant
Is a prenatal massage safe?
A lady is laying on a massage table with a pillow

A woman's body goes through quite a bit during a pregnancy. Many women experience backaches, foot pain, and leg cramps. Then there are those uncomfortable stiff necks from awkward sleeping positions, and let's not mention the feet. Those tootsies take a beating, especially if you have a job where you are on your feet for a big chunk of the day.
Pregnancy can be a literal pain in the neck ... and back, and calves, and hips, and basically any part of your body. So, what are pregnant moms to do? How about treat themselves to a prenatal massage? There are prenatal massage benefits moms-to-be should be in on.

Prenatal massage

Read more
Flying while pregnant? This is what you need to know
Know these guidelines about flying while you're with child
A family walking in an airport

Maybe you have to travel for work. Maybe you already had a vacation planned before finding out you were pregnant. However you got here, the reality is you're pregnant, and you have to get on a plane. Can you fly if you are pregnant, or is it on the list of no-no's, like soft cheese and deli meats? Whether you already booked that plane ticket or not, there are a few things about flying while pregnant to know. 
Traveling while pregnant
Let's break it down by trimester, so you know where you'll be when you take your trip.

First trimester travel
The first part of your pregnancy is usually OK to travel during. Most women don't start to show yet, feel pretty normal, and aren't physically restricted by a beach ball blocking everything they do. But there are two things to know if you fly in your first trimester.

Read more