When you’re expecting a new little one, you get tons of advice about all the baby must haves.
But from swaddle sacks for the baby to nursing gear for the new mom, a very important person is typically left out of all this helpful advice.
Very few of those “best gifts for new parents” lists answer this question: What to get a new dad?
And even if they do throw a bone to the new dads, the recommendations tend towards beer-related gear and football-themed onesies. In other words: Not exactly what a first-time dad needs as he embarks on his journey toward fatherhood.
Here’s Your New Dad Survival Kit: 12 Most Loved Gifts for New Dads
After three babies in five years, my husband and I have been looking back on what was most helpful to him as an expectant father and then later as a new daddy.
In this list, you’ll find the new dad gift ideas that are our personal favorites as parents who’ve been through the newborn stage a lot in a short amount of time. But we also scoured list after list after list to find even more meaningful gifts for new dads, then I surveyed every dad I know to find out their favorite new dad gifts, too.
So when you need gift ideas for new fathers, this list has got you covered. These baby products make perfect gifts for new dads at a baby shower, for his first Father’s Day, an upcoming birthday, or just because. We can’t imagine how we could have survived without them!
1. Something to Keep Him Awake
With a new baby who wakes up every two hours all night long (or more), the new dad will need all the help he can get to function during the day.
Surprise him with this fun coffee subscription box† where he can sample a wide variety of roasts and find a new favorite. Kind of like a beer tasting – but with coffee and delivered straight to his door.
To round out this gift, you can add an insulated coffee mug like this sturdy Yeti tumbler that doubles as a travel mug. That way, his coffee will stay the perfect temperature and he won’t have to reheat it 27 times a day. Or if he’s a cold-brew kind of guy, this 12-pack of lightly sweetened cold-brew double espresso is delicious.
And if you want to go all out, you could splurge on a fancy espresso machine like this. That way, dad can have his favorite coffee shop creation without ever having to leave the house. (We got an espresso machine after our last baby was born, and I can highly recommend it!)
2. A Baby Calm-Down Kit
Sometimes guys get a bad rap for not reading instructions. My husband definitely likes to figure stuff out on his own first.
But he’s so thankful there’s one baby manual he read before our first child was born.
Most new parents have this eye-opening moment after they get home from the hospital with their bundle of joy. You’re trucking along, changing diapers and nursing and marveling at how a baby can possibly sleep through The Avengers on full blast in the living room.
And then the baby cries. She’s not hungry, she’s not tired, and her diaper is clean. You have no idea what the hell is going on. But the crying is raising your blood pressure, and you know it’s your job to fix whatever is wrong.
You lock eyes with your partner, and you realize they’re as lost as you are.
The solution? Read the manual.
This must-have guide teaches you how to get your baby from cranky to calm in minutes, and it’s a must in any new dad survival kit. Bonus: The book has pictures to show you all the techniques and handy reference pages to save you from having to read the book cover-to-cover.
But the time to read it is not in the middle of an inexplicable crying fit.
When I was pregnant, my husband read the book for a few minutes in bed every night, and he’d speak up every now and then to share any interesting tidbits he came across. I loved that I didn’t have to figure out everything on my own, and he loved being involved and informed. Score!
- Swaddle sack – Swaddling recreates the cozy feeling of being inside the womb and calms babies. But most babies tend to break free of even the tightest blanket, so save yourself the headache and go straight for a swaddle sack.
- Shusher – White noise reminds babies of being in the womb, which is a must for getting them to sleep…and keeping them asleep. Enter: The Baby Shusher.
3. A Sturdy Carrier
As a dad-to-be, you may think you don’t need a baby carrier because you have arms. Duh. So why buy something that serves the same purpose?
But you’ll be carrying that little sack of potatoes around a lot. And while you’ll get quite good at performing everyday tasks with just one hand free, some things are just tricky. Like boiling a pot of water to make pasta. Or closing up the trash bag to carry outside because the whole house reeks of newborn baby poo. Or opening a bottle of wine to celebrate when your baby sleeps for 6 hours straight for the first time.
For my husband, a sturdy baby carrier was a total must have. As an added bonus, strangers at the grocery store tend to think a dad wearing his baby is absolutely adorable.
You have a ton of baby carriers to choose from, and a lot of it depends on your own personal preference for fit and look. Try to find a local baby products store that will let you try on different brands and see what you like best.
I can tell you that we borrowed a friend’s Baby Bjorn carrier, and it was horrible for my husband’s back. The support was nonexistent.
Here’s what we settled on and loved: the Ergobaby 360. Bonus: It comes in lots of different colors.
It’s a little pricier than some other brands, but it was worth it to us to save my hubby’s back!
Also, we always get a TON of comments on it when we’re out in public. Our little one is so happy in it, and it looks so comfortable that people stop to ask us where we got it. This happens so frequently that I started carrying a small notepad in my purse so I could write down the name for people who ask.
Get a carrier the new dad will love so he can strap that baby in and go about his day doing everything he needs to…with two hands! When it comes to the perfect gifts for new dads, you can’t beat that outcome.
New Dad Gift He’ll Love: Ergobaby 360
4. A One-of-a-Kind Keepsake for Him…And Baby
Typically, the new mom is the one who fills out the baby milestone book to record baby’s growth, all his “firsts,” and all the precious memories along the way. But new dads have their own unique precious memories to capture.
When it comes to gifts for new dads, it doesn’t get any sweeter than this special journal called Letters to You.
In this cloth-bound keepsake book, the new dad will find prompts, questions, and space to write a letter to his child every year of their childhood. He can read the pages together with his little one through the years, or he can wait and give the finished book as a graduation or wedding day present. I’m tearing up just thinking of that day when we give our kids the letters my husband has written them over the years!
For a slightly different (but still amazingly special) gift, surprise the expectant dad with The Book of Me.
This do-it-yourself memoir book includes prompts for the new father to record his family history and to reflect on his past, present, and future. Then one day, he’ll be able to gift this one-of-a-kind autobiography to his child as a keepsake she can treasure for the rest of her life to remember her father.
To sweeten the gift, add a special journaling pen to go along with the keepsake book.
5. A Flexible Bag
You might have heard this one before: Get the new dad his own diaper bag – a man bag – so he doesn’t feel embarrassed when he ends up carrying it.
But what if you can’t afford to buy two diaper bags? And more importantly, what if you can’t keep up with making sure they’re both stocked at all times?
(You’d be surprised at the number of times we end up at the grocery store, realize our little one is in sore need of a diaper change, and open the diaper bag to find absolutely zero diapers. Or wipes. Or both.)
What worked well for us is a compromise. We got one nice diaper bag that wasn’t too girly or too masculine.
Here are a few options that aren’t just boring black “man bags”:
- HSD Tactical Backpack Diaper Bag – This military-style bag has everything. Insulated pockets for bottles or snacks, a changing mat, stroller straps, a velcro strap where you can stick patches to personalize your bag, and more. Comes in black, desert brown, or camo.
- Bag Nation Diaper Bag Backpack – This bag is tricked out like the previous bag but without the military feel. Love it in gray!
- Tactical Diaper Bag – Some dads like the military theme, and moms like that khaki goes with everything.
New Dad Gift He’ll Love: A diaper bag in a neutral color like Bag Nation Diaper Bag Backpack
6. An Official Dad Uniform
The new dad will need something easy to throw on when he’s too sleep-deprived to think straight, and the baby will be spitting up on herself every half hour, so get them both a gift that will help – these matching Papa Bear and Baby Bear t-shirts on Etsy.
Who says gifts for new dads can’t be disgustingly adorable?
Gray goes with everything, so dad can get dressed without using any brain power. And baby will go through lots of onesies every day, so she can always use another one.
If you think mom will feel left out, you can throw in the matching Mama Bear t-shirt here.
New Dad Gift He’ll Love: Papa Bear and Baby Bear Shirts
7. Something to Go With His Deep Voice
Some research indicates that in households where both mom and dad read stories aloud, the kids develop stronger language skills than when it’s just mom doing the reading aloud.
But the problem with most of the popular baby books recommended as gifts for new dads? They’re boring as heck.
Give the new dad in your life the gift of a few kids’ books that won’t drive him crazy. Here’s my list of the best baby board books that he’ll actually enjoy reading out loud.
Think of all the fun character voices he’ll come up with! These books make great gifts for new dads because they’ll make his little one giggle for years to come.
8. A Lean, Mean Bottle Machine
New moms have a lot on their minds. They’re figuring out how to breastfeed or if nursing didn’t work out, stressing over formula prices. They’re learning what their baby’s different cries mean. They’re constantly tracking when the baby last ate and slept and how many wet and dirty diapers they’ve produced so far that day. On top of all that, they’re sleep deprived.
In the weeks after our baby was born, my husband did something that was such a load off my mind. He completely took over the job of washing and sanitizing bottles.
Here are the tools he uses to get the job done:
- An electric kettle. This fabulous invention boils water in just a couple minutes, as opposed to waiting for a pot of water to boil on the stove. Not only is it good for boiling water to sterilize bottles, but we also use it all the time for tea and when we make pasta.
- A bottle brush. We got a new bottle brush to keep separate from the regular dish scrubbers, so we wouldn’t be scrubbing nasty food particles into the bottles as we tried to clean them. We used this BPA-free brush.
- A drying stand. We started out just drying the bottles on a dish towel on the kitchen counter. But our cats thought it was great fun to play whack-a-bottle and knock the clean, sterilized bottles onto the floor, which meant we had to start the process all over again. Then we got this bottle drying stand. It’s perfect! It’s even sturdy enough to handle our glass bottles.
9. The Best Way to Save Memories
If the new family doesn’t have a decent camera and you’re looking for a more substantial new dad gift idea, a reliable digital camera makes the perfect gift.
He’ll be able to capture every little adorable thing his baby does and have those snapshots to look back on forever. Plus, if he’s into high-tech gadgets, he’ll have fun playing with a new toy of his own.
We didn’t have a nice camera for our first child together, and because of that, we don’t have very many good photos of her as a baby – and we can never get that time back. And so for our next child, we prioritized adding a camera to the budget before the baby arrived.
Most recently, we were lucky to get a gift card we used towards the latest and greatest in digital cameras: a mirrorless digital camera. This style of camera is fast, more compact than a DSLR, and super quiet – so the new dad can snap pictures of that precious new baby even when she’s sleeping!
New Dad Gift He’ll Love: Fujifilm X-T3 Mirrorless Digital Camera
10. Something to Feed His Mind
Especially in the newborn days, the new dad will spend a big chunk of every day holding his new baby. But we all know you can only scroll Facebook so much before it starts to become soul-sucking, so gift him a lightweight Kindle that he can hold one-handed while holding the baby too. He’ll get caught up on all that reading he’s been meaning to do, and the time will fly!
Several dads I talked to suggested a few specific titles as the best books for new dads. You can load his new Kindle with these titles, or if he prefers paper, get him the physical books and wrap those up instead:
- The Happy Sleeper: The Science-Backed Guide to Helping Your Baby Get a Good Night’s Sleep-Newborn to School Age – Out of desperation, we’ve read a ton of sleep books, and this is the best hands down.
- Playful Parenting: An Exciting New Approach to Raising Children That Will Help You Nurture Close Connections, Solve Behavior Problems, and Encourage Confidence – This book makes an excellent gift for new fathers because it focuses on how to address parenting challenges in a playful way that actually works. Arm the new dad with this knowledge now before he has to deal with a toddler tantrum in the middle of Trader Joe’s.
- The Read-Aloud Handbook – This book will help the new father to raise a lifelong reader right from the start. Plus, the annotated list of great read-aloud books at the end is pure gold. It’s never too early (or too late!) to read aloud to your little one.
- The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind – This book will blow the new dad’s mind. He’ll learn how a child’s brain actually develops plus get practical techniques for nurturing that development.
New Dad Gift He’ll Love: A lightweight Kindle loaded with the best books for new dads
11. Permission to Stop and Reflect
Nearly every dad I’ve talked to said that the transition towards fatherhood brought up some unexpected emotions. And yet because it’s a sleep-deprived, stressful time, you don’t get much space to stop and process those emotions.
Journaling is a powerful tool for new parents because the emotional release you get from journaling can lower anxiety and stress, plus help you sleep better. And when you write by hand about your emotions, that helps you better understand and process those emotions, which seems to unlock the maximum calming effect related to journaling.
But as a new parent, you don’t exactly have time to sit down and write a multi-page journal entry. Which is why I love the One Line A Day journal, and I gift it to every new parent I know.
This journal gives you a small space—enough for one sentence—to write every day for five years. Which means the new dad can take just a few minutes to fill out the journal once a day, then after a while he can look back on all his answers and have an amazing snapshot of this special time in his life.
New Dad Gift He’ll Love: One Line A Day journal
12. A Sweet Ride
Especially in the newborn days, odds are mom will be at home with the little bundle of joy all day long while dad goes to work.
When dad gets home from work, he may see a bit of a crazed look in mom’s eyes. This could be from trying to calm a crying baby off and on all day, cleaning up projectile emitting from both ends of the sweet little babe, a complete lack of adult conversation, or all of the above.
Mom will probably need a break, and your gift for the new dad will be what saves her.
How? Get a sweet stroller ride for dad, so he can pop baby in the stroller and give mom a break. Here are our favorite strollers, depending on what dad may prefer:
- BOB Allterrain Pro Jogging Stroller – This is great for rough sidewalks, bumpy roads, or hilly areas because it’s nice and beefy. Then later when baby has better head and neck control, dad can take baby for a jog. When we went from one kiddo to two, we upgraded to their duallie stroller. If you go with this stroller, you might need to get an adapter so the baby’s car seat can snap in during the first few months when baby can’t sit up unassisted.
- UPPAbaby CRUZ Stroller – Because we’d already traded in our single BOB for a dualie, for our last baby we wanted a single portable stroller we could easily throw in the car for weekend outings. And now we are officially in love with all the UPPAbaby products! The stroller pushes like a dream, and our youngest baby zonks right out in this stroller.
- gb Pockit Lightweight Stroller – You can’t use this stroller until baby is 6 months old, but it’s too cool not to mention. When you’re not using it, the stroller folds down to the size of a backpack and weighs under 10 pounds. This one’s great for travel with babies and toddlers.
If you really want to seal the deal, include how-to instructions like this along with the stroller:
Best if used when you get home after being away from your partner and baby all day. Here’s how:
- Kiss your partner and take the baby from her.
- Say whichever of the following fits best:
- ”Why don’t you run to a coffee shop with a book for some alone time?”
- ”I bet you would love a nap/bath/shower. I’ve got the baby. Go ahead.”
- ”I love you, but you look like you might murder me in my sleep if you don’t get a break. Leave now.”
- If she argues, stay firm. It’s important that she leave the house if possible, or at least go to a completely different room and shut the door. Otherwise, she’ll keep one ear out for baby, and she won’t be able to relax.
- Load baby in this stroller along with a few essentials, like a diaper, wipes, changing pad, and burp cloth.
- Go for a nice long walk around the neighborhood.
The walk will be good exercise for you, the baby will get fresh air, and your partner will get a much needed break. Win-win-win!
Before you go, get my FREE cheat sheet: 75 Positive Phrases Every Child Needs to Hear
- More great gift ideas for dads: 14 Best Father’s Day Gifts, According to Science and 9 Unique Father’s Day Gifts to Make Dad Laugh
- More newborn must haves: 12 Magical Newborn Must Haves You Need on Your Registry
- Gifts for new moms: 36 Awesome New Mom Gifts That She’ll Actually Appreciate
What are your favorite gifts for new dads or for a first Father’s Day gift? Share in a comment below!