For first-time dads, a book of tips could be the perfect Father's Day gift. As June 17 approaches, here are some ideas:
*"What to Expect When Your Wife Is Expanding" (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2012) is a lighthearted month-to-month pregnancy guide by veteran dad Thomas Hill. He focuses on the care of a pregnant wife with tips such as what to buy for baby and what not to say during labor.
*"The Guy's Guide to Surviving Pregnancy, Childbirth and the First Year of Fatherhood" by Michael Crider (Da Capo Press, 2005) strives to answer some tough questions with honesty and wit. Questions like: What does it feel like to realize you're going to be a daddy, or to hear your baby's heartbeat for the first time? What's the best kind of stroller, the best baby name, the best nursery decor theme? Are you sure you have that car seat installed correctly? It's all overwhelming, Crider says, but ultimately worth it -- especially when your child does something like say "Dada" for the first time. You'll think he's a genius.
*"The Little Big Book for Dads," edited by Lena Tabori and H. Clark Wakabayashi (Welcome Books, 2008), gives fathers a variety of ways to engage with their children in the early years. Remember the songs "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"? Or how to make a toy boat? Add songs, games and nursery rhymes to your repertoire, Dad, to calm and delight your baby and toddler.
*"The Everything Father-to-Be Book: A Survival Guide for Men" (Adams Media, 2010) contains the following wisdom from author Kevin Nelson: "Learning to be a father is one of the simplest things a man can do -- and one of the hardest." Get ready to feel a mix of excitement and uncertainty.
*"The Expectant Father" by Armin A. Brott and Jennifer Ash (Abbeville Press, 2010) is a month-by-month guide to help dads tune into what's going on physically and emotionally during pregnancy. Best tips: Hand over the TV remote and watch what your wife wants to watch. Give her back rubs and foot massages. Say "no" if she asks you if she is acting crazy during the pregnancy.
*"The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year" by Armin A. Brott (Abbeville Press, 2004) reassures dads that feelings of inadequacy are common. So are conflicting emotions of power and helplessness. Advice includes getting to know your baby's routine.
*"The Everything Father's First Year Book" by Dr. Vincent Iannelli (Adams Media, 2005) says: Don't be afraid to change a dirty diaper or give baby a bath. Get to know your child's pediatrician. Tune into what your baby's cries mean. Other things you need to know: the definitions of onesie, romper and receiving blanket.
Instead of counting how many minutes you spend with your child, ask yourself, "What do I do with my child during our time together?" Researchers find that the quality and type of activities that you do with your kids are more important than the amount of time you spend with them.
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