School board member stays abreast, but at least 1 critic nurses a grudge

HOBOKEN - Once or twice a meeting, school board member Theresa Minutillo discreetly drapes a pink receiving blanket over her shoulder and breast-feeds her 3-month-old daughter, Gabriela Italia Gross.

The infant has been nursed at four board meetings, apparently without objection from board members nor the four or five parents who regularly attend the meetings.

But at least one Hoboken resident says the practice leaves a sour taste in her mouth.

On an Internet forum sponsored by the nj.com, a comment was posted by someone identifying herself as Hoboken resident Monica Cardella: "What is wrong with Hoboken Board of Education trustee Theresa Minutillo? I thought she had some class."

Cardella continued, "She has shocked the sensibilities of other trustees and the public by nursing her infant during the meetings in front of everyone. Hasn't she ever heard of a bathroom?"

Minutillo expressed shock that someone, especially a woman, would be taking her to task for engaging in what she considers the most natural of activities. Plus, what she does at board meetings hardly qualifies as a peep show, she said.

"I'm extremely conscious of what's going on at the board meetings," Minutillo said. "I have a blanket covering myself. It's not as if I'm exposing myself.

"We all know the benefits of breast-feeding," Minutillo added. "It is recommended that we breast-feed our children throughout their first year of life, which is what I plan to do."

The Jersey Journal was unable to find Monica Cardella.

Before she decided to go public in breast-feeding Gabriela, two other options were explored, Minutillo said.

The board, which meets tonight at 7, considered having Minutillo participate in the meetings via a telephone hook-up, but that proved logistically unworkable, she said.

Then the board offered to provide her with another room. But that would have delayed meetings that already can stretch four hours, she said.

Ultimately, the board decided to go along with whatever she found comfortable, Minutillo said.

"It's very inconspicuous," school board chairman James Farina said. "No one sees anything. And I appreciate her having the courage to do it. She is a very responsible board member."


Comments (4)

Cara
Said this on 9-12-2006 At 09:32 pm
Passing through the kitchen this evening, I happened to glance to the tv that my daughter was watching, curious as to why she had the news on. I picked up this segment and felt compelled to write to Theresa. BRAVO!! BRAVO!! to you. What a wonderful act of love! Babies are born to breastfeed. That is the long and short of it. As a mother of 4 daughters, breastfed for years (yes years), I only hope that they grow to have the courage to do something as beautiful as you and I have done. And to Monica, wherever you are hiding: BATHROOMS ARE FOR URINATING AND DEFECATING. Who wants to eat in a bathroom? I wouldn't and I sure wouldn't want any of my children to. Shame on you for not supporting a woman's right to breastfeed in public. Theresa, on behalf of breastfeeding women everywhere, Thank you.
gloria casiano
Said this on 9-13-2006 At 03:29 am
Goodmorning my comment is about Theresa Minutillo breast feeding her baby at a meeting i myslef fine notting wrong with it i think more mothers all over should have the priviledge of this bond with mother & child.As long as she is covered i see no reason to feel uncomfortable.

ps good luck to you and GABRIELA
ol breast mom
Said this on 11-4-2006 At 07:25 pm
breastfeeding is how God intended babies to be fed! So to the outraged mom start reading some parenting magazines ..didnt know there istill some ignorance out there about this topic
Theresa Minutillo
Said this on 7-15-2011 At 02:23 pm
<p>Gabriela has just turned 5 yrs old and is a beautiful, intelligent and compassionate child. &nbsp;I thank God everyday for this blessing.</p>

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