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21 Valentine’s Day Gifts Dads Actually Want

Because everything changes once you have kids.

When a man becomes a father, his identity can become subsumed by the tiny human he’s helping to raise. Hey, it happens to the best of us. And that’s why picking out considered, thoughtful gifts for dad takes more effort than ordering a hackneyed mug online. When it comes to Valentine’s Day gifts for dads, think function ahead of form. Or in a perfect world, a seamless combination of both.

You want gifts that make him feel seen. Feel appreciated. Feel understood. Things like multi-faceted briefcases that double as diaper bags in a pinch, backpacks that allow dads to bring their kids camping with them, and headphones that can help them make the most of very rare workouts. Here are new dad gifts, ranging from pithy to practical, that any guy would be happy to open this Valentine’s Day.

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  1. Now that you're a parent, how do you meet new friends?
    Parenting groups or playdates
    Sports leagues or group meet-ups
    Around my neighborhood
    I haven't met any new friends since I became a parent
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Yes, this is a bit twee. But this shirt, created by the dad of a newborn daughter, will help him bond with his infant via beneficial skin to skin contact.

Parents can expect to get six whopping years of bad sleep after having a baby. So get him sleep mask, which is adjustable and is a silken blackout curtain for his eyes.

Speaking of sleep, he can zone out while listening to his favorite music, thanks to this headphone headband. It's made from soft fleece so it's gentle on his noggin.

Because being a parent doesn't mean turning into a shut-in, he'll appreciate this passport travel case. It's from the Australian maker of fancy wallets and folios, and and this case fits two passports, 4-8 cards, cash, and boarding passes. There's even a mini pen to fill out any last-minute forms.

Quite possibly the most ingenious protective case ever made, this one fits devices up to 11 inches in size. It has an IP66 waterproof rating that provides protection in downpours, hailstorms, and drops into the toilet. When it's cold out, it extends battery life. When it's hot out, it stops it from overheating. He can wear either across his body, or hang it from the stroller.

An indispensable tool for attaching everything from diaper bags to portable speakers to the stroller, this one weighs all of 12 grams and doubles as a bottle opener.

It's never too early to start saving for college, and this the most handsome mirrored-polish stainless steel elephant piggy bank we've ever seen.

A minimalist and thoughtful organizer for all his wires, cords, and miscellany. It weighs less than a hockey puck, and the waterproof zipper and coated canvas exterior are extras.

A sweet full-grain leather case to protect his AirPods, with a handy clip so they attach to his diaper bag or stroller, and they never go missing.

Think of this as the ultimate upscale fanny pack, when he's in hands-free mode, with room for all the basics. It has an expandable side gusset for when he's toting around more stuff, plus a sunglass pouch.

With this 16 ounce coffee mug, it's all about the details. It's vacuum-insulated to keep java hot for six hours, or warm for 12 hours. It has a wide-mouth lid so it's easy to use on the go without spillage. And it fits right into a stroller cup holder. Plus, the design is perfectly earthy.

Because flexibility is key when you're a dad, get him earbuds that let him take calls anywhere, anytime, with total clarity.

A handy phone mount that he can attach to the stroller, this one fits just about every phone and is sturdy enough to withstand rough terrain.

He'll be spending a lot of time on the couch, in bed, in the nursery, so get him pants made from the softest, stretchiest fabric in all the land. These bottoms have a clean, fitted look, with tapered bottoms, so he can wear them out of the house without shame.

No more bad hair days: This Melin snapback cap is breathable, water repellent, moisture-wicking, has a hidden pocket, and it even floats. Because you never know what a day holds.

He can stay hydrated, 24/7, with this brilliant self-cleaning water bottle. It uses UV-C LED technology to purify his H2O and clean the inside of the bottle so it doesn't get all nasty. And it gets the job done in 60 seconds, every two hours, whether he's out hiking, hanging at the playground, or dealing with a zombie attack.

He'll stay dry, no matter what Mother Nature hurls at him, in this sleek rain jacket, which packs up into its own pocket, which fits in his back pocket.

A wool slipper so soft, he'll never want to take it off; bonus is the rubber sole that gives him traction and stability when he's carrying the baby around.

This toggles somewhere between heartfelt and hokey. But then again, it's something that his kid will undoubtedly appreciate when he's old enough to understand. He can seal each letter with a sticker, note the date, and package everything together to give to his son or daughter, there's also a set for that, when the time is right.

Preparedness is key for dads. And this multitool belongs in every man's EDC: It's a knife, pliers, a screwdriver, a wire cutter, a wire stripper, scissors, a package opener, bottle and can openers, a file, and a ruler.

The ultimate, rugged, portable blanket weighs as much as a deck of cards and is perfect for impromptu trips to the playground, the park, or the campsite; it has its own stakes to keep it in place.

A brilliant pocket printer that weighs as much as a softball. It's efficient, it fits right in his back pocket, and it churns out a snapshot every 12 seconds whenever he wants to capture a moment for posterity.

In any other scenario, this would be too cheesy for words. But when worn by dad and baby? Yeah, it's a photo op.

For diaper changes on the go, of which there will be many. This clip-on changing station has a large mesh pocket for diapers and wipes, and a zippered pocket for keys, phones, or other pacifiers.

He always runs out of socks, but he never stops appreciating the good ones that pay tribute to his own innate coolness.

A diaper bag that doesn't look like one, created by two dads, and doubling as a portable changing station.

He can always reminisce about seeing the Patriots lose to the Titans, thanks to this hardback journal for ticket stubs.

Playing with cars and trucks never gets old. And we do mean never, especially when it's done on dad's back.

All his grooming essentials, including moisturizer, face wash, shave gel, and aftershave balm, in one handy box. While the tern 'natural' is wildly overused and means nothing, this brand is known for its high-quality ingredients, none of which come from animal sources.

Minimalism is always in style, and this dope backpack fits a laptop and charger plus it lies flat so it doubles as a changing pad.

Taking endless photos of babies is a parenting rite of passage. With this retro-cool analog instant camera, he can give his snaps an artsy twist. It has a double-exposure functionality, plus landscape mode and macro mode. And automatic exposure control that pretty much ensures perfect lighting.

Now, we admit this three-letter personalized branding iron straddles a fine line between dope and dopey. However. A steak branded with his kid's initials will look good and taste better. The letters are capitals and about 1.25 inches tall. Each iron is handmade.

He can play lullabies, for himself or the baby, with this handy clip-on Bluetooth speaker, which has an impressive 10 hour battery life.

Bring the spa to him (and trust us that every guy appreciates a little bit of on-point pampering) with the best facial exfoliator on the market. It gets rid of dirt and oil, as well as dead skin cells, giving him a much closer shave and clearer skin. Plus, it works in minutes, because escaping to the bathroom for 45 minutes is a thing of the past. It has eight adjustable intensities for different skin types and needs.

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