Lifelong hockey player and Alberta native Serah Small was expecting she would “bounce back” in time for two tournaments a couple of months after her daughter’s birth.
She managed to successfully play four games in the tournament in Grand Prairie before she hit a big roadblock.
“When we got to the tournament I had realized that I forgot my breast pump’s charging cord, so I couldn’t charge my pump in order to pump for my mom who was watching Ellie in the stands,” said the nursing mother.
So she improvised.
“My mom brought my daughter into the dressing room,” she said. “So I got half-dressed and then fed her, and then put the rest of my gear on and went and played.”
While she breastfed her eight-week-old baby girl, Small’s mother snapped two photos. When Small saw them later on, she fell in love.
“I thought they were so beautiful, so I instantly shared them with a few of my friends.”
Eventually Small also allowed her lactation consultant Tara-Jean Thiessen to post them online too.
“There are some mums who feel unsure about how to go about breastfeeding in public,” Thiessen said. “Society is promoting women empowerment and that’s the perfect photo for that.”
“Here’s Sarah with a brand new baby playing a sport that she loves, life doesn’t stop when you’re breastfeeding.”
But Small admits her breastfeeding journey has been challenging.
“We’ve got it figured out now, but I had to really focus, especially when she was younger with our latch, so it took two hands. It took all of my energy, all of my attention and a cover just didn’t work for us,” she said. “I needed to be able to see where she was and make it work.”
That is exactly why she decided to post the locker-room photos on her Facebook page. Her post has been shared hundreds of times.
Small hopes her story will help other mothers by normalizing breastfeeding.
“Breastfeeding is something that is normal and beautiful and not something that should be done behind closed doors or to be ashamed or to feel like you need to be covered up — but if that works for you then that’s awesome,” she said.
For Small, it’s about balancing the loves of her life — her daughter Ellie and her favourite sport, hockey.