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Meet an Alcmenie Series | Claire Melillo


cloth mama Claire and her two boys


Hi Alcmenies, my name is Claire. I live in Melbourne and I am mum to two boys aged 5 and 1, and angel girls who would have been 3. I am a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse, I completed my Masters of Nursing just as I fell pregnant with my youngest, Dominic. I would love to do some further study at some stage and become an IBCLC, as I would love to be able to support and empower women in their breastfeeding journey. I am also currently sewing kids clothes as a little side project in honour of my twins, Abby & Izzy.


What prompted your decision to use cloth nappies?

I used cloth with my 5 year old after watching friends use cloth with their kids. I really wish Alcmena was around then as we struggled with cloth causing rashes for him and despite medical help and assistance from CCN (CCNDU back then) we were not winning and ended up changing to disposables full time after a year.

I held on to all of the nappies I had and was determined to try again, any small part I could play in reducing the environmental impact with disposable items I am all for. I used reusable breast pads with both boys and even used reusable wipes with the disposable nappies until my eldest toilet trained.

Thankfully, and after finding Alcmena, we have not had any issues with cloth with Dominic and the only times he has worn disposables are when we have had issues with rashes so we are 100% full time cloth in this household and have been from a couple of weeks old.


What has surprised you the most on your cloth journey?

The micro economy of cloth has been extremely surprising. It is a whole new world with so many products available these days, but such demand for certain prints or items that if you’re not in this ‘world’ you would have no idea about, or likely even understand the craze of it all.

Secondly, I shouldn’t be surprised by this, but the wonderful community of like-minded people that are welcoming and helpful at all hours of the day and night. It shouldn't be surprising as we all have at least cloth use in common, but I am still constantly and pleasantly surprised by the kindness and comradery that this community has provided me time and time again.


Can you share some advice for families wanting to start using cloth?

Be open to trying different styles, there is no perfect style for every baby, but most importantly it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Every reusable product used, is one less disposable going to landfill. It is not about being perfect all the time, but doing what works for you and your family. Take a break from it if you need to, and take your time to get used to it all. Finally, check out Clean Cloth Nappies for washing advice.


What is your favourite Alcmena print?

It is so incredibly difficult to pick just one. Two of the first prints I ever purchased were Age of Pootron and Chamberpot of Secrets and they have been strong favourites since. They were also the first that I was to get complete ‘sets’ in. Pretty much all of Kang’s prints are my favourites.


How do you fill your own cup?

That has seriously been lacking lately, not helped by living in Melbourne and stage 4 restrictions, Sewing is bringing me a lot of joy lately, and I am getting back into running which is helping to clear my head and helping me feel better about myself at the same time.


What would be the theme song of your life?

When I’m 64 by the Beatles upbeat, and about a long love story. Played it at our wedding as we walked out of the church.


If you could make a difference in the world, what would you be known for?

I already feel I make a difference caring for sick and premature babies, I don’t need to be known for it though.


What is your most treasured possession?

I have a teddy and Leopard soft toys that belonged to my eldest brother who died in an accident when I was 6 years old. They have always been with me, and now my 5 year old has claimed the Leopard toy as his own, knowing it was his uncles toy and how special it is.


Who or what lights you up?

My boys, while they can equal parts irritate and frustrate me at times, I am so thankful every day for them and the joy and craziness they bring to my life.


What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

My 5 year old tells me he loves me the most, more than papa haha.


What is something about you people would be surprised to learn?

I was born with duplex kidneys, so 2 kidneys either side. One wasn’t working at a young age and I had surgery at 2 years of age to get it removed. I still have 3 functioning kidneys. Family trait, 2 uncles on my dad’s side of the family are the same, and my niece was born last year with three kidneys.


If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Pasta, I don’t think I could pick one sauce to eat for the rest of my life but pasta, all the pasta.


A genie gives you three wishes—what are they?

1. Guarantee that my children will be happy in their lives

2. Erase my debt

3. Reverse global warming effects on the earth


If life were a video game, what are some cheat codes?

Infinite Knowledge: Br41n14c

Infinite Money: m0n3y b4nk$$

Seeing the Future: 3y3 0f 4g4m0tt0

Time Travel: Cl0ckw0rk

 I’m not clever enough to think of these myself, I found them online, but I would use them.


What do you wish you knew more about? 

I wish I understood more about politics. I never had much interest in it at a younger age, and so now I find some of it really confusing. I feel like I’m faking adulthood when it comes to politics.


Describe yourself in three words?

Caring, stubborn, introvert.


 first birthday photo with Alcmena chamberpot of secrets


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