Essential new dad stuff

We’re 51 weeks into my little one’s life so far. I’ve had a few expecting dads ask me about what they should know about or get before the baby comes.

There’s a lot of terrible books out there just for dads. Awful “baby center” websites enumerate neverending lists of stuff to acquire. Most contain an inventory of what to get for the little one, the mom, and everything in between. That’s fine: you’ll most likely need all of that stuff and more.

What there isn’t enough of is what specifically to pick up for dads. Here’s 3 things I have been recommending to new dads I’ve met:

Happiest Baby on the Block

This book changed my life. It’s pretty repetitive, but worth the read. You could skim it in an hour or so.

It’s a tactical guide to caretaking that you can use from literally the first night on. The “5 S’s” stop working after a few months, but it’s one of the few books I found that offer actual and actionable advice for after the baby comes.

There’s a sequel as well for toddlers that I just finished, and we’re starting to implement too.


I didn’t really discover earplugs until around 6 months. I wish I would have earlier.

Why earplugs? Simple: Babies are fucking loud. I have a tendency to get migraines, and piercing screams at 3am break me easily.

To me, these are defense mechanisms. They’re the towers on your fortress. Your shield as you enter the fray. We’re lucky to have a good sleeper, but when I need to head in with the earplugs, I just smile now no matter how upset the situation has him.

Just grab a big 50 pack of cheap earplugs and you’ll be set for a while. Obviously don’t use these as a way to ignore your kid’s wailing on a normal basis. That’s dumb.

White Noise Generator

Maybe you’ve got one of these already if you live (or sleep in) in a noisy area. I downloaded White Noise Ambience Lite the first night in the hospital, and it just worked. After a few nights we found the “Rain on Car” setting to be the least annoying out of all of them, and we’ve stuck through using it for the entire year so far.

This thing does wonders for associating when it’s time to sleep, no matter where you are - the car, in the crib, pack ‘n play, a friends’ house, and so on. Happiest Baby definitely mentions white noise, but there’s no concrete recommendations for which to get. Chances are you’re going to have your phone or tablet on you most the time. Have the app ready to go, and you won’t need to buy a more expensive standalone device.

I hope this stuff helps you out. If you have a similar list for toddlers I’d love to see it.