Monthly Parenting Magazine

Interview: Giles Alexander, aka ‘You the Dad...

Interview: Giles Alexander, aka ‘You the Daddy’


Giles Alexander is one of the UK’s leading dad bloggers, who has been writing about fatherhood and sharing the highs and lows of his own parenting journey online for nearly a decade.

After finding out he was going to be a dad for the first time, Giles quickly discovered that almost everything online about pregnancy and parenthood was targeted at mums and their experience, with hardly anything to help new dads figure out this monumental transition in their lives. To help fix this, Giles created his blog You the Daddy which quickly became a favourite with new parents around the world, drawn in by his humour, honesty and reassuring, practical advice.

Best known for his “Man’s Guide to Baby Growth During Pregnancy”, interviews with well-known personalities and parenting experts, and his funny and heartwarming parent poetry, Giles’ posts have helped more than a million parents to navigate the rollercoaster ride of parenthood, while providing support and encouragement to new dads the world over.

A proud working dad with a busy career and home life, Giles lives in the UK with his wife Rosie and their three small children. We caught up with Giles to chat about his new book, ‘You the Daddy’, a helpful and practical guide to new fatherhood…

Hi Giles, congratulations on the launch of your book ‘You the Daddy’. Can you tell us a little bit more about it, and what inspired you to write it? 

Thank you so much! In a nutshell, I wrote ‘You the Daddy’ as an honest, practical and reassuring guide for first-time dads, designed to give them a head start on their parenting journey. 

When you find out you’re going to be a dad, there’s a huge amount to learn, and fast. A whole new world of pregnancy advice, parenting skills and fatherly responsibilities that you’ve never had to consider before. It’s a big transition that we all go through, which (as well as being exciting) can be really overwhelming, especially the first time around.  

To help new dads prepare themselves for what’s to come, the book is filled with all the essential information and advice they need to know about pregnancy, birth and the first three years of parenthood; both in terms of looking after your baby and toddler but, just as importantly, how best to support your partner through every stage of pregnancy and new parenthood. 

Because modern parenting is hard work. But the more informed, confident and hands-on we are as dads, the easier this time is for everyone.

Plus, on a personal level, my wife and I have decided that our third baby (Bonnie, who’s nearly two now) will be our last, which means I won’t be writing about pregnancy and newborn life as much as I used to. I really didn’t want all that hands-on knowledge and experience to go to waste, so saw this book as the perfect way to pass on everything I’ve learned to the next generation of dads (before my tired brain forgets it all!).  

What was your own experience like as a first-time dad, and how did that play into your decision to write the book? 

Becoming a dad was one of the happiest times of my life. But, as much as I loved those early days, they were also some of the most challenging. 

During my wife’s pregnancy, I was all over everything. Attending every scan, NCT class and breastfeeding clinic, asking questions and taking copious notes. Researching how to support my wife through every new pregnancy symptom, learning how our baby was growing, and how to be the best birth partner I could be. But my biggest mistake was neglecting the next (and longest) part… how to actually look after a baby once they’re born! 

So, when our first son Teddy was born prematurely, we were suddenly thrown in at the deep end. Everything was new, confusing and, frankly, scary. Like all first-time dads, I was learning on the job, trying to juggle my work and family responsibilities, whilst operating on little to no sleep. Also, being the first guy in my friendship group to have a baby, there wasn’t really anyone I could go to for advice, which meant I lacked the confidence to know whether what I was doing was right or wrong.

When I eventually got round to researching how to look after this new baby of ours, I quickly realised just how much conflicting information there is out there for new parents, and how difficult it can be to find the advice you need when you need it most. Plus, most of what you read about pregnancy and parenthood in other books and online is geared towards mums and their experience, meaning the important role us dads can play is often overlooked. I really wanted to fix this, once and for all, with this book.

Did you collaborate with other parents and experts on the book? 

I felt it was important that “You the Daddy” didn’t focus solely on my own experiences as a dad, but that it also included the stories, insights and advice of a diverse range of experts and other dads who had different experiences of fatherhood than my own. 

Not only does the book have thoughtful contributions from a stay-at-home dad, adoption dad, allergy dad, co-parenting dad and a mindful dad, it’s also packed full of every great piece of parenting advice, every tip and every trick I’ve collected from my incredible wife and a whole host of amazing experts and real-life parents around the world. 

Because, at the end of the day, no two babies are alike and there are countless different ways to be a dad. We all come into fatherhood with different life experiences, aspirations, financial situations and support networks, which each has a massive impact on how well we can fulfil our new parenting role. You need to be flexible, try new things and adapt to whatever life throws at you. And this book gives you the tools to do just that.


Your book has the same name as your successful blog and Instagram channel. Have you seen things changing for new dads since you started it? 

Absolutely! 10 years ago, the entire parenting conversation online was dominated by mums’ voices, with just a few pioneering dad bloggers starting to emerge on the scene (brilliant dads who inspired me to start writing about my own experiences all those years ago). As dad blogging became more mainstream, and with the rise of social media, more and more dads have since joined the conversation, bringing our unique perspectives and issues to the table.

In recent years, it’s been amazing to see inspiring fatherhood-related campaigns hitting the headlines too, like the viral “Dads Don’t Babysit” campaign from Al Ferguson, founder of Dadsnet; Pregnant Then Screwed’s campaign for better paternity leave (“Let’s talk about six”); and Elliott Rae’s recent campaign, Parenting Out Loud, which hopes to change outdated workplace cultures and empower working fathers. Campaigns such as these have not only benefitted dads, our rights and perceived value in society…they’re also improving the prospects and treatment of mothers in the workplace, driving further progress towards gender equality (a win/win for everyone).

I’m really proud that fathers today are stepping up to the plate and, without doubt, we are more actively involved in raising our children than any generation that’s come before. Being a dad has never been more of a full-time job, and one that extends well beyond the traditional 9-5. It doesn’t stop once the monthly rent/mortgage/gas bills have been paid. Our working day doesn’t end when our paid employment finishes and we head home. Bath time, night feeds, nappy changing, weaning, potty training, cooking, cleaning, ironing and emotional support are all fundamental parts of the job description. And that’s exactly how it should be.

If you could go back to the first months of new fatherhood, what’s the one piece of advice that you wish somebody had given you? 

I know first-hand how tempting it is after you’ve had a baby, to try and do it all, and never drop the ball. But as I’ve learnt from painful personal experience, while it’s possible to do this in short bursts, it really isn’t sustainable long term. 

As your to-do list grows and grows, you’ll have to make sacrifices if you want to keep on top of everything. You might start by getting more takeaways rather than having to go shopping and cook. Staying up late to finish work or household chores, cancelling plans with friends, skipping the gym, and cutting back on things you enjoy. It’s a slippery slope. And before you know it, you’ll find yourself exhausted, irritable, mentally drained and at serious risk of burning out.

If you’re constantly tired, stressed, and running on empty, you won’t have the energy to be the kind of father you want to be. You’ll find yourself getting into arguments or falling ill more easily, knocking you out for days (where you’re no use to anyone). And worst of all, you’ll end up missing out on all the best bits about these early years with your kids, too knackered to appreciate just how special this time really is. 

No matter how difficult it might seem during this hectic time in your life, you need to carve out some time for yourself. Your partner does too. Real quality time, just for yourselves, to escape the routine and treat your mind, body and soul, so you can come back refreshed, energised and more equipped to deal with whatever new challenge awaits you at home.

What are your own favourite moments of new fatherhood? 

There are so many. Holding your baby for the first time. The smell of your newborn’s head. Those funny squeaks they make when they’re dreaming. The first time they grab your finger in their hand, or smile when you enter the room. And, best of all, when they’re sad or upset but instantly calm down once they’re in the safety of your arms. These are the moments that really make you feel like a dad. 

And not-so-favourite? 

Oh, I love a lie in, so my least favourite part of new parenthood has to be the lack of sleep. No book or parenting class can truly prepare you for the insane levels of bleary-eyed exhaustion we all experience during those first few weeks and months. It’s no coincidence that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture, because that’s exactly what it feels like! 

And finally, what would be your idea of a perfect day with your kids? 

Well, obviously, it would start with a lie in (each of us in our own beds ideally)! Then we’d whip up a quick picnic, load the car with buckets and spades, and head down to the beach (anywhere along the West Sussex coastline) for a lazy day on the pebbles and sand, building castles, collecting sea glass and braving the cold water any time the sun breaks through the clouds. Many ice creams would be consumed over the course of the day, and when it was eventually time to go home, we’d manage to make it all the way back without anyone asking, “are we there yet?”

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Giles Alexander’s first book You the Daddy: The Hands-On Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy, Birth and the Early Years of Fatherhood is published by Vie, £14.99