Spring has sprung. Flowers are blooming. Bees are buzzing. And someone in your life has told you they’re pregnant and that you’re the father for the first time. You’re going to be a new dad. Problem is, you don’t really know anything about kids or parenting. It’s time to start reading. Herein you won’t find any super-manly, dude-specific books, because gender is a social construct. Here are some of the best books for new dads.
Best Books for Every New Dad
Cherish the First 6 Weeks by Helen Moon
Helen Moon is a professional nanny who has worked with high-profile new parents for over two decades. This book focuses on that critical first six weeks and how they are so important not just for the baby, but the whole family.
The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children by Shefali Tsabary, PhD
Don’t expect to find any quick fixes in Tsabary’s deep book. Plenty of books and articles cover how parents’ traumas are passed onto children, but this book also digs into how children can heal or worsen those traumas. Tsabary dives deep into the parent-child relationship to guide readers into a mutually beneficial relationship.
Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care by Benjamin Spock, M.D. and Robert Needleman, M.D.
Dr. Spock’s name and guidance have been a cornerstone of child-rearing for decades now, and his advice is as relevant and useful as always. In recent editions, Dr. Needleman has added on with modern research into immunizations, child obesity, screen time, and a myriad of other topics important to every new dad.
Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby’s First Years by Walter Cook, M.D. and Kelsey Klaas, M.D.
Covering the first 36 months of a baby’s life, the baby experts at the Mayo Clinic have assembled a book that doesn’t just cover important developmental milestones, but looks at various possible newborn conditions, work-life balance, and many other aspects of those early months. It even provides handy calendars to track your baby’s physical and psychological developments.
Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline, M.D. and Jim Fay
Just the other day, I was reading a story by a friend of mine who lost her cool with her young children. She was beating herself up about it, and every mutual friend was reassuring her that it happens to every parent. Parenting with Logic and Love won’t prevent such events, but it does lay out many tactics for avoiding them, for always governing your children from a place of love and logic.
The Sh!t No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby’s First Year by Dawn Dais
Let’s face it, you’re about to be a new dad, and you’re terrified. Do yourself a favor and grab a book by a mother who is willing to lay everything out there. Dawn Dais will make you laugh and cry at the same time with the pure, unfiltered truth about your baby’s first year.
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.
Drs. Siegel and Bryson have developed an approach to child-rearing that focuses on brain development. This book will help you understand how a child’s brain develops and how you can work these developments into your own parenting style.
Best Books for Nontraditional New Dads
Adopting: Strong Choices, Strong Families by Patricia Irwin Johnston
Even if you’re only considering adopting, Johnston’s book is a good read. It looks at that very complicated decision, at coming to terms with infertility, and at understanding that raising adoptive children is inherently different than raising biological ones. Johnston looks at the variety of decision that come along before, during, and after adoption for any new dad.
The Co-Parenting Handbook: Raising Well-Adjusted and Resilient Kids from Little Ones to Young Adults through Divorce or Separation by Karen Bonnell and Kristin Little
Though the title is still rooted in the breakdown of a traditional marriage-based parenting arrangement, Bonnell and Little’s books is also good for new dads heading into a co-parenting arrangement from the start. Putting the child’s needs first in a co-parenting situation is key, and this book will help guide you to it.
Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge
If hindsight is truly 20/20, then this book will provide key insights into adoption provided by people who have grown up in it. Eldridge dives into 20 complicated emotional issues that adopted children struggle with, and coaches parents on ways to handle them as those children grow up.
Best Books for New Dads of Disabled Kids
Differently Wired – Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World by Deborah Reber
The founder of TiLT Parenting, Reber’s book looks and how to handle a variety of disabilities with care and attention. ADHD, autism, anxiety, sensory issues, giftedness, and many others are covered in these pages, helping any new dad through the challenging waters of raising a child.
Parenting Children With Health Issues: Essential Tools, Tips and Tactics for Raising Kids with Chronic Illness, Medical Conditions and Special Healthcare Needs by Foster Cline, M.D. and Lisa C. Greene
So many people are born with pre-existing conditions. While we learn how to live with them and monitor ourselves in adulthood, the challenge is steeper for children. Cline’s and Greene’s book examines way to help your child with their health issue, whether communicating what’s happening or dealing with refusal to take meds.
Best Books for New Dads of Black Kids
The Black Parenting Book by Abbe C. Beal, Linda Villarosa, and Allison Abner
As a white man, I never had to have “the talk” about race. I didn’t even know what racism was until I was in my teens. Black children don’t have that luxury. For over 20 years, The Black Parenting Book has been a go-to resource and one of the best books for new dad. It deals with sleep and health and hair, but also important decisions about finding Black characters in books or looking at all-Black preschools.
Parenting for Liberation: A Guide for Raising Black Children by Trina Greene Brown
In a much newer approach to guiding parents of Black children, Trina Greene Brown is an activist who takes an optimistic, Afrofuturist view of raising Black children. Her book focuses on upending oppressive parenting techniques and building community while raising children.
Build or buy that crib. Get the baby’s room ready even though they won’t use it until they’re ready to have an opinion about the paint color. Childproof the outlets and cabinets. And get to reading some of these best books for new dads. And take a deep breath, future father. It will all be worth it.