Does royalty give you extra-special parenting powers? Of course it doesn’t. But we still want to know if the young royals do anything different than the rest of us when it comes to caring for their babies. We have no idea whether or not Prince William’s secret for comforting a crying baby works, but we can imagine plenty of new parents will be giving it a shot. Cue the sound of running water in family homes across the world.
Dad-of-two Wills shared his tip during the launch of the royal family’s new mental health charity, Heads Together, on May 16. When asked what he does when his children — 2-year-old Prince George and 12-month-old Princess Charlotte — cry, Prince William, 33, said he used to calm down his infant son by running water. Apparently this worked wonders.
Since becoming a dad, Prince William has made no secret of the effect his children have had on his life. In an interview for the British documentary When Ant and Dec Met the Prince: 40 Years of the Prince’s Trust, he opened up about how fatherhood has changed him.
“I’m a lot more emotional than I used to be, weirdly,” he said. “I never used to get too wound up or worried about things. But now the smallest little things, you well up a little more, you get affected by the sort of things that happen around the world or whatever a lot more, I think, as a father.”
And at U.K. charity Place2Be’s offices in London — with Kate Middleton and Prince Harry — for the Heads Together launch this week, Prince William answered “my children” when asked what made him happy.
If Prince William’s running water tip works for your baby, great! If not, well, at least it’s kind of reassuring that even the royal family will try anything to get a few minutes of relief from a newborn’s wails.
And actually, there’s method to his madness. Studies have shown that background white noise — such as running water, a car engine, hair dryer, washing machine or vacuum cleaner — may be calming for a baby because it reminds them of the sort of sounds they would hear in the womb. It’s part of the fourth trimester theory, pioneered by Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, who advises that parents treat themselves as a “walking uterus” in the first three months after birth to help their infants grow accustomed to the outside world.
According to Dr. Karp, in the third trimester, babies are used to hearing blood rushing through the placenta, and it’s even noisier than a vacuum cleaner. So white noise is familiar to them and helps them to calm down and fall asleep.
And for parents of the particularly stubborn infants out there who carry on screaming over all the white noise you can throw at them? Prince William, over to you.