7 Must-Reads for Dads-to-Be

Navigating pregnancy and the earliest weeks of fatherhood can be nerve-racking and confusing for even the most excited father-to-be. Here are a few books that can help make the journey a bit easier to manage.

  • Courtesy of Amazon.com

    The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-be

    By Armin A. Brott and Jennifer Ash

    For a thoroughly modern dad-to-be, The Expectant Father presents a wealth of information on pregnancy and life after baby, including tips for those considering becoming stay-at-home fathers. Throughout the month-by-month chapters Brott and Ash are dedicated to helping the expectant dad figure out his role and understand how all the impending changes will affect him--all while supporting his partner, of course. Feeling overwhelmed or stressed out by the pregnancy? Start a journal in your free time, they suggest. Topics such as encouraging mom-to-be through pregnancy and labor, monitoring her diet (with a few recipes included, should you be so inclined to cook for her), finances, adoptions, choosing baby names, and juggling work and family are peppered with New Yorker-style cartoons to keep the book from feeling too text-heavy.

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    Don't Just Stand There: How to Be Helpful, Clued-In, Supportive, Engaged, Meaningful, and Relevant in the Delivery Room

    By Elissa Stein and Jon Lichtenstein

    As the title suggests, the pocket-size Don't Just Stand There focuses specifically on labor and delivery. It's written he says/she says style with general, relatable information blended effortlessly with lighthearted humor. Example: After Stein explains why massage can be helpful during labor, Lichtenstein adds, "Tickling her feet is definitely not a good idea." At only 100 pages (and with many full-page illustrations), it covers general talking points, but don't expect too much in the way of details. You will find basic info on the stages of labor, what mom-to-be may be feeling, tips on how dad-to-be can help her get through it, what to bring to the hospital, and a few ideas about what not to do or say. For instance, regarding the transition stage of labor, Lichtenstein advises, "She may curse you like sailor. Under normal circumstances this might really make you laugh. Don't laugh now."

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    Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads

    By Gary Greenberg and Jeannie Hayden

    Expectant dads with a funnybone will enjoy the humor in Be Prepared, as well as the wide range of topics discussed--from basic baby care to picking the right stroller to making your baby laugh. Alongside silly illustrations, this book does have some valuable information for dads-to-be with little to no previous baby experience. Never swaddled a newborn? Check out the handy illustrated step-by-step instructions. Wondering how, exactly, to accomplish taking baby's temperature? That's covered, too. Ideas are also presented for other "manly" duties such as changing a diaper at a sporting event, babyproofing the house, and camping with a baby. Greenberg and Hayden do a good job of easing any new dad fears with a comedic slant.

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    The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions

    By Penny Simkin

    With 398 pages devoted to detailing every childbirth scenario, The Birth Partner is an impressive textbook-like resource for dads-to-be who want to be knowledgeable and involved in the delivery room. Four information-rich sections (Before the Birth, Labor and Birth, the Medical Side of Childbirth, and After the Birth) cover topics such as prepping for labor, epidurals and other medications, non-drug pain relief techniques, interventions, C-sections and other complications, breastfeeding, and newborn care. A number of helpful illustrations and easy-to-navigate charts make digesting and retaining the medical jargon a bit easier.

  • Courtesy of Amazon.com

    Dad's Pregnant Too! Expectant fathers, expectant mothers, new dads, and new moms share advice, tips, and stories about all the surprises, questions, and joys ahead...

    By Harlan Cohen

    Built on personal accounts and real-life anecdotes from hundreds of interviews, Dad's Pregnant Too! is an everyman's guide to pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the early days of parenting, filled with sensible information that's easy to understand and quick to read. More than a hundred topics are presented through trivia, tips, Q&As, and sidebars, including what to expect when it comes to doctor appointments, sex during pregnancy, mood swings, prepping for birth, spoiling mom-to-be, shopping for baby gear, push presents, and Baby's weekly development.

  • Courtesy of Amazon.com

    Your Pregnancy for the Father-to-Be: Everything Dads Need to Know about Pregnancy, Childbirth and Getting Ready for a New Baby

    By Glade B. Curtis, M.D., M.P.H., and Judith Schuler, M.S.

    The authors of national bestseller Your Pregnancy Week by Week deliver this comprehensive manual of pregnancy and beyond for dads-to-be. The book offers insights and factual information on supporting your partner, financial and legal matters, prepping for baby's arrival, labor and delivery, lifestyle changes, your relationship, and bonding techniques for dad and Baby, all with the mission of educating expectant fathers on how to help their partners have the best pregnancy possible. A "quick-look guide" in the front of the book, which is divided into five sections (1st Trimester, 2nd Trimester, 3rd Trimester, Labor and Delivery, At Home with Baby), provides basic, skimmable information for referencing on the fly.

  • Courtesy of Amazon.com

    What to Expect When Your Wife Is Expanding: A Reassuring Month-by-Month Guide for the Father-to-Be, Whether He Wants Advice or Not

    By Thomas Hill

    This parody of Heidi Murkoff's pregnancy bible What to Expect When You're Expecting is possibly heavier on humor than facts or advice, making it a hit with dads-to-be who simply want to laugh their way through pregnancy. The special brand of sarcasm in this month-by-month guide can be a bit polarizing (for instance, the first page of every monthly chapter is a dedicated list of "What Your Wife Will Be Complaining About," which may offend some), but it covers the basics from early pregnancy to labor and delivery to the first weeks at home with baby in an easy-read Q&A format and just 142 pages.

    Copyright © 2011 Meredith Corporation.