New Dad Survival Guide: Real Advice from Real Dads

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How to be a new dad… What baby stuff do I need..? Anyone got any new dad tips? New dad advice anyone? There has to be some help for new dads out there somewhere! These are all good questions to be asking and now you have the answer: The Dad Network!

If you search New Dad Survival Guide you’ll find some very helpful websites and even, what looks like, a very helpful book called: The Expectant Dad’s Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Having perused through this new dad literature, however, we feel that there are a few gaps that need plugging and being The Dad Network, we feel that we should be the ones to do the plugging! We’ve collated advice from real dads from our network of over 600 dads and it’s all here for you to feast on! What better new dad survival guide, than one directly from dads who have been there and done it!

This is our fool proof New Dad Survival Guide!

#1 Sign up to The Dad Network and buy our cheap eBook for £1.99! Ok, it’s a shameful plug but on a serious note, you should join our dads group. Over 650 dads all helping and supporting each other. It’s the best place to ask for advice and share your successes!

#2 Pack some things for you in the hospital bag like a flask of coffee and some snacks.

#3 Just to remember that that quick trip with the kids to the shops, pool, park etc will always take at least twice the time you think so be ready for whatever comes!

#4 Put the local takeaways on speed dial.

#5 Be prepared for the baby’s first night at home, usually a long, long night.. Especially as you may not have slept in days…

#6 An afternoon nap is perfectly normal…

#7 Make the most of every moment it goes so quick.

#8 Be prepared that the day you forget to take something is day you need it.

#9 At some stage you’ll feel absolutely terrified by something. Don’t know what it will be, but it’ll happen possibly more than once. For me it was: first time putting the baby in the car, first time bathing them and first time cutting their nails.

#10 Keep active – so many dads to be put on weight after having a baby. I’m not entirely sure why…but this might help.

#11 Have the odd moment on your own; dad time is important.

#12 Learn how to rub her feet. And back. And shoulders. In fact, just learn how to massage!

#13 Be patient.

#14 Expect the unexpected. And when I say unexpected, I am talking about the extremes of your mind plus another 40%. And be prepared to laugh your arse off afterwards.

#15 Don’t talk about other women’s post-pregnant bodies!

#16 Never hesitate to ask for help. As a bloke it’s sometimes tough to admit you need/ want it. Just ask it’ll help relieve the pressure, stress and make parenting a far more pleasant and social experience.

#17 Put some money aside for rainy days. A little a month can really help and when you need some cash for a night away or a new stroller, you’ve got it!


#19 Stock the cupboards. Cooking elaborate meals is much harder now you have a baby! Get in some curry sauces, super noodles, frozen southern fried chicken. Job done!

#20 Talk through the parental ‘things’ that are important to you.

#21 Read to your baby. It’s important.

#22 Remember that you are uniquely you and your baby is unique too. So you will form your own bond and have your own routine and way of doing things that may not look like the books and advice say it’ll look. But your child will know you are Daddy!!

#23 Keep dating… and… stuff…

#24 Share you fears and feelings about being a dad. It’s an experience for both of you. “cos dads have babies too” n’ all that!

#25 Tidy up after yourself. Better now than a pig sty later.

#26 Prepare yourself for utter exhaustion. Your baby might not sleep for days, weeks, months… years???!

#27 Take a deep breath and learn how to have fun changing nappies.

#28 Don’t over react to things that seem big at the time.

#29 Don’t be afraid to always show and tell your child you love them, no matter the age.

#30 Always have an extra towel near by while changing nappies. Sometimes they are not finished when you open up the nappy and you need to be protected.

#31 Do not listen to other parents horror stories of baby blow outs, spit ups, lost sleep, endless crying, etc. No matter the experience it’s all worth it. I promise. Ignore those who carry buckets of doom.

#32 Tell her she’s beautiful.

#33 Make sure you have a birth plan. Go over it together and remember be there for her, make sure the hospital is aware of your birth plan. (But hold in your head that all the best laid plans need a plan B!)

#34 Don’t get sucked in. She’s just saying it because her hormones are all over the places still. She can’t argue on her own so remove yourself. Stay calm and controlled.

#35 Say sorry.

#36 Talk to your baby all the time. They respond to sounds, words and your voice. It can feel stupid but it’s not.

#37 Stock up on nappies.

#38 In the battle of wills, you must always win.

#39 Always go with your own instinct. You’ll learn more that way!

#40 Always remember that every baby is different, what works for somebody else’s child might not work for you and your child.

#41 You can read all the books in the world but nothing is like the reality to really bring home the overwhelming feeling of love and pride you feel.

#42 Presence, not presents.

#43 Goodbye boobies, they’re baby’s now. No advice here – *sobs*

#44 You only learn by experience in this job, so understand and appreciate that both parents are making it up as they go along.


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  1. Tinuke

    Really enjoyed this and have shared already! Brilliant tips, especially the one about keeping up with dating. Oh and to say sorry, and not to blow things out of preportion.. well ALL of the tips are great lol! #sharethejoy

    • Al Ferguson

      Dating is so important!? Thanks for your comment

  2. Michelle Reeves (bodfortea)

    I wish the network had been around when our eldest was born. We lived in China at the time and the internet was a lifeline for me (that incidentally became my career) but I can’t help but wonder if the husband would have benefited from being able to connect with other Dads like this. Fab set of tips too. (And believe me we share your pain about the boob thang.) Thanks for linking up at #sharethejoy – have pinned and shared.

    • Al Ferguson

      What do you do now? Blog full time? Has he joined our group? He’s very welcome. :)

      • Michelle Reeves (bodfortea)

        Yep after many years working in PR and internet marketing and design I’m now a pro-blogger, working around the kids, and I LOVE it. I’ll recommend the husband joins the group too!

    • Al Ferguson

      Thanks for having us!

  3. David

    This is the kind of thing I needed…

    #36 I find myself talking absolute gibberish most of the time. She’s happy with it of course, but if I hear myself, I check to see if anyone else has!
    #41 Rings true the most – you can’t be completely prepared for what is coming.


    • Al Ferguson

      Thanks for your comment. :)

  4. Tim

    Heh. Definitely #4 (the existence of takeaways who deliver is a veritable God-send) and definitely #18 (what’s the point of having kids if you’re not going to get involved?)

  5. Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

    Great tips, also applicable to non-birthing partners. Especially talking about women’s post pregnancy bodies. I’m pretty sure there is no way to win with that one. You’re partner may share her breasts with you again…sometime….maybe…


  6. Sarah Howe

    Haha awesome I need some of this advice too as a mum! It’s all so true but all so totally worth it to be a parent. Good advice re hormones and staying well back…they are insane! Xx #bigfatlinky

  7. Ali @ Mum in a nutshell

    fantastic! So glad the rub feet &clean up after yourself is in there. Can you send this to the NCT to be included in the antenatal classes? Its so good to see if from a Dad’s point of view, many a marriage could be saved with this advice. #bigfatlinky

  8. Jade Wilson

    Great tips as always Al! There’s some great advice for mums too though. I wonder if my OH read this and saw #35 that he might.. possibly.. one day.. do it! #bigfatlinky x

  9. Lisa (mummascribbles)

    This is a fantastic list for any dad (or even mum) to be! I wish I could have had this list two and a half years ago hehe!! I’ll make sure I forward to any expectant parents :) #bigfatlinky (thanks for hosting!)

  10. hannah

    fab post thank you #bigfatlinky sharing this with my OH right away as we’re first time parents to be (soon ahhh)
    #36 Talk to your baby all the time. They respond to sounds, words and your voice. It can feel stupid but it’s not. — my favourite one :)

  11. Ashley Beolens

    Some really useful tips number 28 is probably one of the most important but hardest to achieve :)

  12. am herbert

    Some great tips. Don’t forget if you have other kids, when baby is napping spend time with them.

  13. Talya

    Brilliant list! Every dad-to-be should read this!! #BigFatLinky

  14. Jeremy@thirstydaddy

    some great advice here. Its easy to get so caught up in being “dad” that you forget that you are “you” also

  15. Alexandra Hurton

    43 made me laugh! The amount of times i’ve heard my partner say this to our expectant friends is unreal. #bigfatlinky

  16. John Adams

    Number 18 is particularly important. And what is all this about a flask for coffee? I bought an antique hip flask before the birth of No1! #BigfatLinky

  17. Lukeosaurus And Me

    Really enjoyed this list, it’s got it all – the jokey stuff, the stuff that WILL terrify you and the advice for your lady (this bit I was very impressed with, especially the “don’t get sucked in, it’s just hormones”). I wish Luke’s dad could have read this. Absolutely great, definitely sharing it! Ray xx @

  18. Linda Hobbis

    Will have to show this list to the hubby; I’m sure he will identify strongly with most of it! We became parents in our 40’s so it was even more of a shock! #brilliantblogposts

  19. Mrs Puddleducky

    lovely list & great tips for Dads! Enjoyed reading it :) #TheList

  20. Stephanie

    That looks a great list and it’s always good to get advice from someone who’s been there! #sharethejoy

  21. Jenny

    Great list! #26 and #43 most definitely, much to my husbands dismay! Littlest even gets upset whenever his older brother goes anywhere close to them!! :)

  22. Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    Great post with real tips!! Each tip you give is so important and right on! I love suggesting packing snacks for the hospital – definitely a good idea! And the extra time at the park, that’s very true. Thank you for hosting #bigfatlinky

  23. Laura @Dot Makes 4

    This is such a fantastic list! I’m going to share this with my brothers! :)

  24. Brian Scott

    What an awesome list! Being patient is very important and hard to do and so is dating afterwards, but is crucial for keeping your sanity and relationship in tact.

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