A photo of a mother breastfeeding her infant daughter has gone viral — because the woman is still wearing her hockey uniform, albeit without a jersey.
As TheStar.com reports, new mom and longtime hockey player Serah Small of Alberta, Canada, didn’t let her recent delivery stop her from returning to the ice for a tournament. She also didn’t let the inconvenience of accidentally leaving her breast pump behind prevent her from tending to her 8-week-old daughter, Ellie.
The solution, according to a Facebook post shared by the proud mama: Using breaks between game periods to ditch her jersey and nurse her baby in the locker room.
Small later shared a photo from the day on Facebook in a post that celebrates her ability to “do something I absolutely love while still meeting my baby’s needs.”
“I have been so scared to post this photo that I absolutely adore,” Small, who works as a teacher, wrote. “Why? Because society has made breasts sexual. After sharing the photo with a lactation consultant that has helped me and Ellie I have come to realize that it should not be something to be ashamed of but proud of.
“I have a really hard time feeding Ellie covered and have chose not to cover her at all. Although at times I feel the burn of judgmental eyes I feel more empowered than anything to be able to meet my baby’s needs the way my body intended.
“I have really struggled with accepting my new body as I have always had that athletic build. I have played hockey my whole life and when I found out I was pregnant I signed up to play in two tournaments in March trusting that my body would just ‘bounce back.’ Well this weekend I played four games with a short bench and really learned how different my body really is. I felt slower and lost at first on the ice. My body wasn’t doing the things my brain thought it could. But I have never been more proud of myself and my body.
“Forgetting my pump created all new challenges for me as well. I felt my milk come in and leak as I played and between periods I would strip down to feed my 8-week-old babe. Being a mom is absolutely amazing, and I’m so happy I got to do something I absolutely love while still meeting my baby’s needs. Our bodies are amazing, and this weekend was the first time I truly appreciated mine.”
Though some mom-shaming commenters have responded with criticism, Small’s post has largely been met with praise.
“This is what self-care and breastfeeding looks like,” cheered Milky Way Lactation Services, who shared Small’s inspiring photo.
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