Medela Sonata Breast Pump Review

Disclaimer:Emily received a free pump from Medela and I paid for her time to write this post, however, all the opinions, criticisms and observations are her own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

We all know pumping can suck (sorry, I had to), but not all pumps are created equal. Finding one that fits your lifestyle, needs, and budget (if the one you want isn’t covered by insurance, or if you need more than one) can be a major stressor.

I’ve had the same Medela Pump in Style Advanced for going on four years now, and have used it for both of my children. It’s held up incredibly well, with my biggest complaint being how much the darn thing weighs (that puppy clocks in at between 8 and 9 pounds depending on what bag you choose). It is basic, but has always met my needs.

The New Sonata Pump

With Medela’s newest pump, the Sonata, they’ve kept what works, like it’s signature 2-phase expression technology (a fancy way to describe how it mimics your baby’s sucking patterns), and added some helpful new features, like an easy to clean touch screen, and Bluetooth capabilities that connect it to the MyMedela app. They’ve also trimmed down the weight to a much more reasonable 2.2 pounds, and made it seriously quiet. This is both a good thing and a bad thing, since now I don’t get to guess what my pump is saying (I can’t be the only one who heard things, right?).

I will also say, at the risk of getting a little too personal, that I found the suction of this pump to be more comfortable than the Pump in Style, and noticed it feels more like nursing than pumping…but without the teeth, hair pulling, and occasional slap in the face, which is fantastic.

The pump comes with everything you need to get started, including a bag, a cooler with an ice pack and four bottles, one double pumping kit including two breast shield connectors, two connector caps, two valves, two silicone membranes and one set of tubing, as well as two sizes of nipple shields.

 

Things I Loved:

  • So light, comparatively, though the Medela Freestyle is even lighter.
  • Very effective pumping action.
  • Versatile and customizable – Comes with two clinically tested rhythms allowing you to choose which works best for you.
  • Can adjust everything from speed, to sound, to timer, and easily switch it from a single to a double pump.
  • Bluetooth enabled – Connects to the MyMedela app, where you can track your progress, set reminders, and find information (amongst other features).
  • Very quiet.
  • Lithium-ion rechargeable battery so you aren’t tethered to an outlet, like some kind of lonely human appliance.

 

Some Things to Consider:

  • Comes with more parts, but parts seem more durable (specifically the membranes).
  • Pricey, but well within the range of similar products.
  • Not great for on-the-go pumping (like, in the car), but easy to travel with.
  • It probably won’t be covered under your insurance.

 

If you want a comparison:

You can find out more about the Sonata breast pump on Medela’s website.

We all know pumping can suck (sorry, I had to), but not all pumps are created equal. Check out our review of the new Medela Sonata Pump!

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11 Comments

  • Hi! Thanks for your review.

    Any ideas about how to possibly hack this pump with Spectra back flow protectors (perhaps at the top where the tubing connects to the shields) to make it closed system?

    • I imagine it’s not, like the other Medela products, especially since they have a whole video on their website dedicated to cleaning the Sonata in response to the FAQ of how to clean it if milk gets in the tubing. In a closed system, that wouldn’t be necessary.

      http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/products/905/sonata-smart-breast-pump/faqs

      Can anyone explain if there’s any benefit to an open system? Is it supposed to have better suction or something? I can’t figure out any reason why any company would continue to make open systems.

      • I completely agree. I wanted to buy Medela, but just couldn’t justify the risk of the open system. I imagine they feel like the change isn’t necessary with their market share. Extremely disappointing. Have you seen the pictures of the insides of the pumps full of mold?

        People are selling/buying these second hand on my Facebook buy sell group all of the time, it’s gross and dangerous.

    • Amanda! Thank you for your question. The Sonata Breast Pump is designed with a milk barrier that is placed at the breast shield connector to keep milk from passing into the tubing. By market definition, Sonata is a closed system breast pump. Another example of a closed system breast pump from Medela is our Freestyle. Medela has both open and closed system breast pumps.

  • I have never understood why Medela continues to be the most popular brand when it’s one of the only that uses an unhygienic open system. I’ve used the Ameda Purely Yours and Spectra S2, and have been very happy with both. (Spectra is bulkier, but quieter. I actually hook up Ameda flanges to the Spectra so I can use standard bottles.)

    I’m keeping my eye on a new pump that hasn’t really hit the market, and is currently cost-prohibitive from Naya Health. It uses a hydraulic system, rather than vacuum (with water-filled shields or whatever the piece is called). If it takes off, I’m sure all the other brands will mimic it in due time. It’s also smart, light, etc., and according to one article, that part was being compared to the new Medela, but the actual mechanism is significantly different, and I’m very interested to see where the technology with it goes.

  • Hospital pumps are soooo last century. With all the money they charge for a baby today (over and and over insurance ) you would think they could keep up with modern technology. Alas.

  • I bought a Sonata recently and a Charlie G bag to house it in. So much better than my old setup. I walk into work and I don’t even feel like people know I have a pump in there.

    • Hey Margret! You could absolutely use it in the car, and you wouldn’t even need an adapter assuming your battery was charged. My reason for specifying that as a concern was because when compared to the Pump in Style, the Sonata looks a little susceptible to damage if it were to fly off the seat, or have a coffee accidentally spilled on it. Now, to be fair, I didn’t throw it off my seat, or dump a latte on it to confirm this, but I can tell you the Pump in Style is built like a tank, and has survived all kinds of bumps and thumps. That said, the Sonata is a lovely pump overall.

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