Stuff for Dads
While they may not be taking advantage of all the resources available to them, fathers certainly have no shortage of places to turn to for help and advice. Here’s a rundown of some of the newer products, Web sites and programs out there, as well as some time-honored favorites.

Best of the Newer Batch

Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads
, by Gary Greenberg, Simon & Schuster, 2004. Despite some of the obligatory guy humor that mars many fathering guide books – there’s a tip on how to make an emergency diaper using duct tape – this text provides some sound advice on childproofing, supporting a nursing mom and other essential elements of child-rearing specifically tailored for dads.

Boot Camp for New Dads – 714-838-9392;  – Despite a tiresome military theme, this program operates in more than 200 communities in 39 states, the U.S. military and Japan. It teaches men what to expect during and after a pregnancy. The curriculum includes information on caring for new moms, child safety and financial questions. What’s unique is that expectant fathers get firsthand experience with real babies – from calming them to changing their diapers. Check the Web site for a program near you.  – OK, so they won’t win any father sensitivity awards with that emergency diaper duty tool kit (complete with nose clip, protective goggles and face mask), but there’s plenty of cool stuff here just for dads. The Diaper Dude diaper bags, featuring a more masculine design, cell phone holder and key rings, are big sellers.

The Good Father, by Mark O’Connell, Scribner, 2005. This psychotherapist explores how a man’s role in today’s society shapes him as a father. Highly readable text offers case studies and personal experiences, touching upon fathers’ aggression, the emotional differences between men and women, and men’s conflicted feelings as fathers,

The Guy’s Guide to Surviving Pregnancy, Childbirth and the First Year of Fatherhood, by Michael Crider, Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2005. The author, a self-confessed class clown who was together with his wife for 10 years before a surprise pregnancy, recounts his journey through the first, second and third trimester and beyond in diary form. Funny, true and often times racy, Crider’s book is refreshing. He’s self-deprecating, yet doesn’t condescend to other fathers; he’s speaking strictly for himself. But first-time dads will learn plenty from his anecdotes because they’ll be going through the same thing. By the end, the guy who never thought he’d be a good dad shares his aggravation with childless people who impart parenting advice.

Infant Massage Lessons for Dads (DVD), Chocolate Milk Productions, 2004. In this 33-minute video, John G. Louis, massage therapist for the Chicago White Sox, demonstrates the healthful techniques of infant massage, which many child development experts say improves the bond between parent and baby.

Perennial Favorites

Dad’s Own Cookbook
, by Bob Sloan, Workman Publishing, 1993. A great text regardless of the reader’s gender or skill level, Sloan’s book guides you through everything from macaroni and cheese to filet of beef with wild mushrooms, without a hint of condescension. Highlights include primers on herbs and spices, cheese, salad greens and wines; step-by-step guides to throwing a cocktail party or Thanksgiving feast; and nice little extras, such as how to fold a fancy napkin for a romantic meal.

Fatherneed: Why Father Care Is As Essential As Mother Care for Your Child, by Kyle D. Pruett, Free Press, 2000. The psychiatrist makes it clear that fatherhood is not in competition with motherhood; children need both parents and for different reasons.

The Father’s Almanac, by S. Adams Sullivan, Main Street Books, 1992. Offers sound advice, ideas and suggestions for dads, taking them on the parenting journey from pregnancy to preschool.

Finding Our Fathers: How a Man’s Life is Shaped by His Relationship with His Father, by Sam Osherson, McGraw-Hill, 2001. First published nearly two decades ago, this text by the Harvard psychologist is now widely regarded as a classic of its genre. Osherson uses his own case studies to explore how men’s “unfinished business” with their fathers affects their relationships with everyone around them.

The Gift of Fatherhood – How Men’s Lives Are Transformed By Their Children, by Aaron Hass, Fireside, 1994. This veteran psychologist offers sound advice and insights based on both his clinical practice and his personal experiences as a father of three. He takes a realistic view of the challenges in making the transition to fatherhood and growing as a parent, while emphasizing the opportunities and rewards awaiting those who embrace the multidimensional role of being a father today. Never too academic or preachy, the book offers thought-provoking questions and helpful tips.

The National Center for Fathering – 800-593-DADS;   –  Founded in 1990, the center offers practical resources to prepare dads for nearly every situation. Its heralded Fathering Court initiative helps fathers with child support arrearages contribute financially and emotionally to their kids while avoiding prosecution. The center’s online store features a substantial list of fathering books.