The New Dad’s Survival Guide by Scott Mactavish

The New Dad’s Survival Guide by Scott Mactavish

Prompted by impending fatherhood, I picked up Scott Mactavish’s The New Dad’s Survival Guide from Amazon. At only around 130 pages, Survival Guide is a tiny book relative to the growing library of pregnancy and baby books that we are rapidly accumulating these days (What to Expect When You’re Expecting, anyone?). Survival Guide is a brief overview of what to expect out of pregnancy and early child-rearing, all laced with humor and presented in a readily digestible format for us idiot fathers-to-be. The self-deprecation is only slightly tongue-in-cheek, as I feel clueless on a daily basis.

The Guide is helpful in some regards as it is such a smattering of content, even though told in brief, that it will certainly teach you something you hadn’t already heard. This is a plus.

It’s also a fun book in that it’s light-hearted, and us new dad’s need that kind of joviality given the seriousness of pregnancy (Que the thunderclap).

One thing I didn’t care for so much about the book is that it’s so basic, with large print and plenty of clip-art pictures (Not kidding), that sometimes it just seems like “what am I reading here.” But I shouldn’t have expected too much: the subtext of the cover is “Man-to-man advice for the first-time fathers / Secrets Revealed / Codes Broken / Babies Tamed.” However, given that I bought this book online, I wasn’t able to see these bits beforehand nor did I take the time to virtually flip through the pages. Had I done either, I’m not sure I would have picked it up.

But if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have received such “Critical Survival Tips” as:


Attend childbirth education classes with the FPP. Doing so will prevent a major freak-out when a human pops out of your FPP’s private parts, as well as preparing you for your role as a birthing coach.



Get accustomed to the breast pump prior to the birth. Examine it, even take it apart, because when it’s hooked up to your FPP and milk is shooting out like a dairy, you may lapse into shock or laugh so hard that a little pee comes out.

So all in all, it was a fun read and somewhat informative; indeed, some of the specific advice could be quite useful (like preparing for the trip to the hospital).

Afterward: If anyone has any must-read books for men on new-fatherhood, please let me know!

2 replies on “The New Dad’s Survival Guide by Scott Mactavish”

First, congrats on your pending fatherhood.

I’m glad you got a few laughs from the book; that was the whole point. You’d be shocked at the number of emails I receive from readers who totally miss the satire.

Pregnancy is indeed a chock-full of gravitas, and there are plenty of bloated parenting books out there for those who need the fine print.
But for those who need a good laugh while downloading in the morning, well, TNDSG is just the ticket.

(And BTW, the clip art is all vintage stuff from the ’40s, and a rip on the old guvment publications.)

Thanks for the review, and enjoy the growing family!

-Scott Mactavish

Hi Justin

I hope daddyhood is better for you than the books you’ve read have made out.

Im recommending for you and for any other parents, or parents to be a book that really could change the world we live in – its called “Parenting for a Peaceful World” by Robin Grille.

Its very much unlike The New Dad’s Survival Guide by Scott Mactavish as its a serious but a fantastic read (one of those you cant put down kinda books) that has and is changing my life. Without writing huge synopsis the effects of reading the book have left me with a great understanding of the world we live in and why people are the way we are and why with each generation – things generally get slightly better and a little more easy going.

Specifically I understand greatly my own parents and in laws, and who they are as people and how they have been shaped from their parents style of parenting. Also how my parents, parenting style has made me the person I am today…its freaky and refreshing to know that I have been programmed, but also now feel way more empowered to do some reprogramming.

Finally and most importantly it has cetainly changed many of my thoughts on parenting and has empowered to truly create an environment for our children to grow up peacefully and wholistically without me messing it up…Anyhow all going to plan we hope to have our first child in 2011.

If you read it, you wont be dissapointed.

Enjoy Stephen

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