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Buying guide for best parenting books for dads

Dad's don't get to be pregnant. As a result, they may feel nine months behind by the time their baby is born. That doesn't have to be the case. No, we're not talking about dads being responsible for gestation. We're talking about a little bit of preparation. Reading a parenting book created specifically for dads is a wonderful way to feel more comfortable in your role as a father to a child.

The best parenting books for dads are written in a way that makes you want to read them. Often, the most compelling books contain short sections filled with humor and pictures. But seriously, it's hard to get into a book that you do not enjoy, so it’s important to look for an author with a voice that resonates with you.

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One of the best reasons for reading a parenting book is so you can recognize bad advice when it is freely offered by well-meaning individuals.

Key considerations

Parenting books break down into three general types: keepsake books, storybooks, and reference books.

Keepsake books

Admittedly, this is not a book specifically for dads, but it is an important book you will want to have. A keepsake book is a place for you to collect information about all of those important milestones in your child's life: birth time and weight, first words, first step, first birthday photo, and so on. This type of book is so important that you may want to get two: one for you and one to give to your child when he or she is old enough to truly appreciate it.


A storybook may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of parenting books. However, it’s worth noting that there are some good ones you can read at bedtime to bond with your child. Often, these books feature important life and learning lessons, so both dad and child can literally be on the same page. However, there have been a few clever ones popping up on the market that give dad an edge over mom. For example, Jimmy Fallon's Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADA is a book that makes sure the very first word your child says is "Dada!"

Reference book

This is the type of parenting book you're most likely looking for. It features information about parenting strategies, what to expect, how to juggle work and parenting, and the special skills dads need to raise daughters. This type of book will be something you read before the baby comes as well as something you reference frequently during the entire first year of parenting (at least).


Current version

What we know about raising children changes rapidly. Not too long ago, some parents were giving kids a sip of whiskey to help them sleep. Now we know that this is extremely dangerous. The best information comes from parenting books that are current.


Are you looking for a 500-page tome that explains every single aspect of parenting in great detail, or would you prefer a cursory guide that has less than 200 pages and is a quick read? There is no wrong answer because there are books for every reader. Choose the one with the ideal number of pages for you.

Trusted author

Once someone has a child, they become qualified to write a book about the experience. However, you probably want something written by an author with a little more in-depth understanding of raising a child than a first-time blogger.

Easy to read

What is easy to read for one person may be drudgery for another. If you’re an at-a-glance type of guy, you're not going to enjoy a book filled with long, word-dense paragraphs filled with terms you have to look up.


If the sections of a book seem unorganized, the thoughts and ideas presented in those pages may be haphazard and confusing as well. Look for a book with a crisp presentation that is easy to follow.


If you're offended by humor, look for a dry book that presents data and strategies in a clinical way. Notably, though, since the topic is parenting books for dads, you may have a hard time finding one that isn't infused with a sense of humor.


If you really have an aversion to words, some publishers cater specifically to you. Look for a book that offers lots of pictures, illustrations, and cartoons.

"Purchasing a current book on parenting can give you the confidence you need to know you are making smart parenting choices."

Parenting books for dads: prices

Price will likely not be a determining factor in which book you purchase. Why? Because there's not a great deal of variance in the cost.

Paperback: If you are interested in a paperback book, you will most likely be looking at spending between $10 and $15.

Hardcover: If you prefer a hardcover version, if it's available, it should only be a few dollars more, roughly between $15 and $20.

Note that some parenting books for dads are also available in downloadable ebook form. The price for these runs the gamut, but often, you’ll find better deals here.

What to expect from a parenting book for dads

Any self-help book can cover a wide variety of topics from different perspectives. You may be hesitant to purchase a book because you're unsure what those topics or perspectives are. To give you a little insight, here is some of the material you may be reading about, depending on which parenting book you purchase.

The birth: Some parenting books for dads offer a sneak peak at what the birth process will be like. You'll learn what to expect during the birth and what is expected of you.

Month by month: Some books break down the first year into segments so you're not overwhelmed by all the changes that will be taking place.

Care: Many parenting books for dads touch on health, doctor visits, care, and nutrition so you have confidence that you are doing things the right way.

Dad's role: If you'd like to learn which tasks are traditionally the dad's responsibility, look for a book that provides this information.

Strategies: A good bit of the book will likely be spent covering strategies. You may find everything from information about raising a strong daughter to backing off so your child has room to blossom.

Philosophies: Some parenting books examine different child-raising philosophies and approaches. If this interests you, look for a book that devotes a chapter or two to the topic.

Balancing work and parenting: Parenting isn't something you can do remotely. Many parenting books include a chapter about how to strike a balance between spending time at work and spending time with your child.

Fears: Although the book may have a much more clever name, you can bet there will be a healthy amount of space devoted to alleviating your fears about being a first-time dad.

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At some point, parents believed it was a good idea to put a blanket in a crib with a baby. Today, that practice is highly discouraged. It's vital for new parents to read about and understand current childcare practices to keep their babies safe.


Q. Dads have been helping raise kids since the first child was born. Why do I need a book to tell me how it's done?
The biggest reason is because, as a first-time parent, you have never done it before. You only get one chance to be a first-time dad. The best book isn't going to tell you precisely what to do, but it's going to give you a sneak peak at what to expect. Becoming a dad is an amazing experience. Reading a good book about parenting will help you navigate the tougher times so you have the most amazing adventure.

Q. Do second-time dads need parenting books, too?
Yes. If your first child was born a long time ago, popular parenting philosophies and practices may have changed. If it has only been a couple of years, a refresher course is always nice. In short, it’s always helpful to have an up-to-date reference book on hand.

Q. What if I have a nontraditional family?
A family unit may consist of any combination of individuals. Even so, there are still distinct roles within that unit. The role of the father differs from the role of the mother. However, it doesn't matter who takes on those roles. In some instances, the same person might serve as both mother and father. To learn what is expected when you take on the role of dad, reading a parenting book targeted for dads is a great strategy.

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