in partnership
Star Wars Vader's Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown.jpg
Part of the Darth Vader and Family series by Jeffrey Brown, this covers life with Darth Vader and his precocious daughter, Princess Leia. (Image: Pottery Barn Kids and © & ™ Lucasfilm LTD)

Holiday Gift Guide for new dads

This past August, I was blessed with the birth of my daughter. It is everything and nothing like what people say. Over the course of the past three months, I’ve learned what has been needed as a new dad. And I’m going to bestow my knowledge with you. Here is the gift guide for new dads (and new parents will find it handy as well).

First things first, let’s establish things that all new parents could use. Sleep. Food. A clean home. Not much one could gift with the first, but you could gift some time to spend with the new lil' one to let the new parent (especially Mom) catch some zzz’s. As for food, if you do come by to visit, bring something for the parents to nosh as they likely haven’t had time to cook for themselves. Which goes into the third, see if there is something you could help around their house. Take the dog out for a walk. Water the plants. Put the dishes away. All of this will be gratefully appreciated.

Good, we got that out of the way. But what about things you’d like to put underneath the tree or to stuff in a stocking? Chances are the new parents don’t need new baby clothes. My daughter has been on this planet for twelve weeks and she has more clothes than I do. You could gift staples like more diapers or wipes (because these are always needed), but they don’t exactly dazzle. Here are a few things that I’ve come to appreciate with my daughter and helps the new dad with the new lil in their life.

"The New Father" by Armin Brott
In the time leading up to the due date, I devoured Armin Brott’s "The Expectant Father" book. From his easy writing style and understandable research, it was a welcome read on the dad’s perspective for the upcoming birth. And now that I’m a new dad, I’ve voraciously read his "The New Father" book on the first few months of life with the baby. Just like his other book, "The New Father" is broken up by month on what to expect and what to consider during these early developmental periods.

Customized Stork Diaper Bag by Timbuk2
Dads, you will need a diaper bag. Yes, you could use your partner's, but why not create your own personal style and have a diaper bag just for you when it’s dad and kid time? I like the Stork Diaper Bag from Timbuk2 for the thoughtful touches like an interior that can be wiped down, the bottle holder, but most importantly the changing pad. This changing pad is rad; able to unfurl with one hand (helpful while you’re holding a wiggling baby), it has mesh pockets and a visible window to grab wipes, hand sanitizer and all the other things you’ll need to clean up your baby. The Stork is only available as a Customizable bag and I’d highly suggest you visit the Timbuk2 Seattle Store to look at the fabric swatches; if you make a customized order, it’ll be bumped up in the production queue over online orders. Score one for dad.

Car Seat Cover
As the new dad will become one with their car seat by toting it around, anchoring it in their vehicle, and general strolling, a car seat cover comes in handy. There are a few types out on the market; we have the Cabana from Uppababy, and we take it with us everywhere the stroller goes. It helps to keep baby protected from the elements and adds a little private nook away from the hustle and bustle of the world. You’ll find yourself using this cover more than you realize.

Boon Bottle Warmer
Leading up to the due date, I’d ask parents for advice on how to wade through the volume of stuff that one could buy. Many said ‘don’t buy a bottle warmer,’ and after so much feedback, I didn’t have it on my buy list. However, I was gifted a bottle warmer and can’t imagine ourselves without it. Because you will find yourself with needing to warm up a bottle for baby in a hurry and what are your choices - leave a pot of simmering water on the stove (you and I both know you’re not going to do this) or drop it in a warmer for a couple minutes to have a warm bottle to sate a crying a baby? There are several bottle warmer choices out there, but I like warmers like this model from Boon because they heat up fast and use steam to warm up the bottle gently.

Darth Vader and Family calendar and books by Jeffrey Brown
If the new dad is a Star Wars fan, the Darth Vader and Family series by Jeffrey Brown is a must. (Or get them anything from this gift guide; I’ll take a Large in the Death Trooper jacket, thanks) There are books in the series like "Vader's Little Princess", as well as a 2017 wall calendar; the fun tweaks on Star Wars lore is a hoot. Since dad will need to read books to baby, he may as well make them about a story from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Swaddle Sacks
While I wish my swaddling game was on lock I never got to that point, but thankfully, technology was my friend and there are many swaddlers and swaddle sacks on the market that can wrap baby with snaps or Velcro. I liked these (and there are a number of brands on the market) as they are very secure and won’t loosen up if your baby is a wiggler or active sleeper. If you can have baby sleep as soundly as possible, you should do it. Swaddle sacks will help with that.