As regular readers have probably already have gathered, I’m 35 weeks pregnant and reckon I’ve read more books in this concentrated period of time that I ever did at school or university put together. I have quite a bookish character, plus I’m a writer, so I guess it’s my natural response to want to ‘study’ pregnancy and parenting in written form. Luckily there are a gazillion brilliant books for new mums out there but, as I’ve recently discovered, not so many great ones for dads.
I really wanted to find something engaging, practical and thoughtful for my partner Andy to read about the first year of fatherhood but, as I soon discovered, there are plenty of dodgy ‘lad dad’ manuals to swerve along the way. So, I’ve compiled a, by no means exhaustive, list of recommended reading material for new (and expectant) Dads which don’t rely too heavily on nappy humour or cartoon strip illustrations. Plus, if you’re quick and order sharpish, you might just get them in time for Sunday.
If your partner fancies himself as a bit of a pop psychologist, buy him this. It’s definitely more of a ‘bigger picture’ book and jumps a little between subjects, but overall is an illuminating read that takes in diverse subjects from step-fatherhood to sex after babies (erm, what’s that?).
For some, the US language (diapers etc) may grate (especially the slightly tetchy and sleep-deprived) but this is the book I decided to buy out of all those that I researched online. To quote my partner Andy, “it’s broken down well into month by month sections and once you get over the Amercanisms, you can really relate to what the author is saying.”
Hands up, I haven’t actually read this yet, neither has Andy, but when our NCT teacher brought this book along to a class we all had a chuckle at a) the slightly inappropriate cover image and b) the author’s surname. Joking aside, this book in intended to build confidence for those fathers who’ll be taking an active role in their baby’s birth at home (hopefully not throwing them 4ft into the air though…) and deals with a topic that has hundreds of books devoted to it for women, but actually very few for men.
Chatting to Emma (mum to a three and five year old) this is the book she’d most recommend. In her words “it’s fantastic in the way it describes different family structures for raising small kids. It walks you through the pros and cons of the mother returning to work, the best time to do it and the effect it had in the whole family. The answer is, of course, that there is no right answer. But this book is perfect for any dads questioning the roles each member plays in the overall happiness of the family.”
Andy took one look at this and baulked (he thought it said Ross Kemp, lolz), but once I’d reassured him it wasn’t written by Grant Mitchell, he relaxed. Full of practical, but non-patronising advice including chapters on overseas travel and how to choose the right nursery, this is a great read for both new dads and mums alike – one to share.