Family Matters

A Gift for Expectant Fathers: DaddyScrubs

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I’m not complaining, but for some reason, Mother’s Day always seems to generate more buzz than Father’s Day. Likewise, when it comes to the event that makes those days relevant — the birth of a child — it seems that the key contents of the hospital go-bag are all about mom. Until now.

Expectant fathers no longer need to feel left out, hovering around their contracting partners in slouchy khakis and a faded tee instead of more labor-appropriate togs. Now they can don DaddyScrubs, a set of custom-embroidered scrubs being touted as the new birth-day uniform for dads-to-be.

“When you’re in street clothes, you feel kind of out of place,” says entrepreneur Robert Nickell, who came up with the idea in 2009 while awaiting the birth of his fifth child. “You put on scrubs and feel part of a team. You feel like Superdad, like, O.K., babe, I’m here to help you.”

Nickell, from Hermosa Beach, Calif., wore jeans to the birth of his four kids from a previous marriage. In 2009, as his new wife was getting ready to have a baby, Nickell couldn’t quash his jealousy knowing she had special-ordered a snazzy hospital gown to avoid being consigned to an ugly inpatient model.

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Nickell wears scrubs to work at his medical staffing company, but he fretted that showing up at the hospital in standard scrubs could breed confusion. “I didn’t want to get mistaken for the doctor,” he says.

So he decided to bling out a pair, stitching “Daddy” on the front and “I’m the daddy” on the back. At Cedars-Sinai Hospital, where his wife delivered, nurses high-fived him as he strutted down the hall. At Starbucks, customers called out their congratulations and, more significantly, asked: “Where can I get them?”

Online, of course. DaddyScrubs launched last year, selling for $39.95 in three manly hues: killer khaki, hunter green and Navy Seal blue. The latter has proved the most popular, particularly with the Armed Forces.

As far as Nickell is concerned, DaddyScrubs are simply a sign of the times. “Our grandpas were told to sit out in the waiting room. Our dads were told they can come in if they feel like it. Nowadays, dads are expected to be in there,” says Nickell. “We’re brought up with superheroes, firefighters, police officers, and they all have uniforms. A guy needs a uniform too.”

Of course he does. It’s just not fair for ole dad to be overlooked while mothers bring new life into the world. “The moms do all the work, but dad does need some credit and he needs some encouragement to get in there,” says Nickell.

MORE: The Fathering Gap: Pitfalls of Modern Fatherhood

A small cast of A- and B-list celebrities have placed orders or have been spotted in DaddyScrubs: actors Kevin James and Ian Ziering, Fox News’ John Roberts, World Champion rodeo cowboy Ty Murray, film producer Cash Warren, wealthy scion Donald Trump Jr., model and soap star Antonio Sabato Jr.

No politicians yet, as far as Nickell knows, and he got a bit cagey when asked if DaddyScrubs had plans to dispatch a pair to expectant father and recently retired/disgraced New York Rep. Anthony Weiner.

“What kind of question is that?” he asked, then issued an emphatic, “No.”