(Note: I was given a Medela Sonata Breast Pump to try free of charge. This review is based on my personal experience with that product and all opinions are my own. Please see our complete affiliate disclosure here for more information! Thank you for supporting The Pumping Mommy!)
Ever since I first saw the Medela Sonata, I couldn’t wait to try it.
Medela boasted it as being their best personal use breast pump yet and with tons of technology and a sleek, modern design, it isn’t hard to see why.
So does the Sonata live up to all the hype?
In short, yes. Yes, it does.
Review of the Medela Sonata Pump
It has a sleek touchscreen with feather-light touch activated buttons (you seriously just need to graze the button and it works). It syncs with the MyMedela app to give you a personalized pumping experience including the ability to track your pumping sessions and how many ounces you pumped.
The Sonata also features Medelas signature 2-Phase Expression Technology that mimics how your baby nurses automatically and their Responsive Pump Technology which detects and responds to your body to ensure consistent pressure from the Sonata.
All that sounds super fancy and the Sonata certainly does have a lot of impressive bells and whistles to talk about but the real reason I love this pump so much?
Well, the proof is in the pudding… or milk, in this case.
So let’s talk about the specific features of the Sonata!
Features of the Medela Sonata Breast Pump
- Light Weight – Only weighs 2.2 lbs
- Quiet – The quietest pump I have used so far
- Built-in Rechargeable Battery – Can go about 3-4 pumping sessions before needing a charge
- Sleek, Modern Pump Design
- Backlit Pump Face – Makes late night pumping a breeze
- 2-Phase Technology
- Responsive Pump Technology
- Bluetooth enabled Smart Pump – Connects to MyMedela App to tracking pumping sessions
- Double or Single Pump
- Hospital Performance Pump – Features the same technology as the Medela Symphony
- 2 Pumping Rhythms to choose from
What Does the Medela Sonata Come with?
- Sonata Breast Pump
- (2) 24mm Breast Shields
- (2) 27mm Breast Shields
- (4) Milk Collection Bottles with Lids
- (2) Bottle Stands
- (2) Connector Caps
- (2) Membranes
- (2) Connector Bodies
- (2) Valves
- Power Adapter
- Tote Bag
- Ice Pack
- Cooler Bag
Unboxing of the Medela Sonata
I had heard that the Sonata was an experience when opening the box for the first time.
Most pumps are just packaged in the best way it will fit, with the parts each wrapped up and “Tetris’d” in some generic way.
The Sonata is packaged in a way that that leads you through the process of a formal introduction to your pump. First, with the instruction manual and information packet, then to the pump, then the collection kit parts, and finally the remaining pump parts.
They give you some easy cheat sheets to help you get started and know what to do first.
If you have never used a breast pump before, this is a very welcome change from just opening a box to find a bunch of random parts.
What I Love About the Medela Sonata
Let’s start with the design of the Sonata.
It is visually stunning. The round design, with backlight face, easy to touch buttons, makes the Sonata one of the more user-friendly pumps I have ever tried.
I really love the design of the Sonata!
2-Phase Technology & Responsive Pump Technology
Medela’s 2-phase technology has been a stand out in their pumps for years. The Sonata is no different.
It’s basically a fancy way of talking about the speed and suction strength of the pump. It starts out in stimulation mode, which mimics a hungry baby (fast suction/rhythm) and after 2 minutes automatically switches to expression mode (slower suction/rhythm) for when your milk lets down.
The great thing about the Sonata is that it makes pumping essentially effortless.
You don’t have to know how to manually set your pump to stimulation and expression modes as you would with a pump that has manual dials. The Sonata starts out automatically in stimulation mode and switches to expression mode for you.
But there is a Letdown button you can press if your milk lets down before the 2-minute mark
Responsive Pump Technology is really awesome. According to Medela:
Responsive Pump Technology (RPT) offers consistent pumping for her individual shape wherever she pumps, using sensors to detect changes in mom’s body (e.g., breast fullness) or in the environment (including elevation) which may impact normal vacuum pressure. RPT adjusts for consistent vacuum throughout the pumping session no matter where mom is, in flight, at the office or at the beach.
I will say, I used my Sonata in the mountains (nearly 7,000 ft elevation) and I did not see a difference in the Sonata’s performance. I am sure that is the point of the RPT…
The Sonata just feels different.
I would describe the suction of the other Medela pumps I’ve tried as a tugging sensation.
The Sonata is much more gentle. It feels to me more like nursing a baby than tugging. I have really appreciated how comfortable this pump is to use.
Whisper Quiet Pump
The Sonata is extremely quiet.
Gone are the days of hearing my Medela Pump in Style speak phrases to me as I pumped (I can’t be the only one that heard them…).
You really could multitask while pumping with the Sonata.
I remember having to place my phone on mute when I was pumping at work because my pump was so loud I didn’t want other people asking what that noise was.
2 Pumping Rhythms
This feature of the Sonata had me really intrigued.
There are two rhythms to choose from: Signature and Lifestyle.
Signature is based on Medela’s Symphony Breast Pump which is used in hospitals. This is the rhythm it defaults to.
Lifestyle is described as an alternative rhythm to help change up your pumping routine. It is also said to conserve battery and renders the pump even quieter.
I tried pumping in both rhythms and did feel a very slight difference. It wasn’t incredibly noticeable but definitely a change.
I have not tested the pump in Lifestyle to measure how much it adds to the battery life though. The rechargeable battery lasts about 3-4 pumping sessions without being charged. So If pumping in Lifestyle Rhythm extends that, it may be very valuable for times you are away from a power source for several pump sessions in a row.
MyMedela App and Bluetooth Connection
The Sonata is Medela’s first smart breast pump. It comes Bluetooth ready and connects to the MyMedela App.
It is extremely easy to connect the Sonata to the app. You simply download the app, turn on your Sonata and follow the prompts for the App to find your pump. It took me literally 2 seconds.
The MyMedela app allows you to tracks a number of things concerning your baby:
- Breastfeeding and Pumping Sessions
- Bottle Feedings
- Diaper Changes
- Weight and Height
Some cool extra features include:
- Data Export – in case you want to show your charts to your doctor or Lactation Consultant
- Personalized Dashboard and Daily Breastfeeding Tips
- 24/7 LC – This is a paid service that is optional but for a fairly minimal price (paid monthly), you get unlimited access to LIVE video calls with a Lactation Consultant connected instantly. This service could be a huge win for moms!
I have really enjoyed using the MyMedela app with my Sonata.
If I were working and pumping and trying to build a freezer stash, this would come in incredibly handy. You can see a daily snapshot of how many ounces you pumped for that whole day. You can also see weekly totals. This is a great way for moms trying to tell if they are pumping enough for their baby at a quick glance.
If you love tracking things and keeping spreadsheets and are a visual person, you will love the app and the way the Sonata works with it!
Love this feature!
Compatible with Kiinde Twist
Despite having different parts than any other Medela pump, the Sonata is still compatible with my favorite milk pumping/feeding system, the Kiinde Twist.
The standard adapter works perfectly with the Sonata and I had zero issues using the Kiinde bags to pump directly into.
You can read more about the Kiinde Twist system, here.
Cons of the Medela Sonata
I will admit there was not a lot I didn’t like about this pump but I have a few wishes.
The Sonata works off of its built-in rechargeable battery for a solid 3-4 pumping sessions. That is slightly less than my Spectra S1, which I can get 4-5 sessions out of no problem. Not a huge difference but if you rely on the battery alone all day, you might run into an issue here if you need to pump more than 4 times.
In most cases, this shouldn’t be an issue. But I will say, that I have not found the Sonata to loose suction strength even with a low battery and that is saying a lot. So you will get the most of that battery power.
The tubing starts as one tube and “V’s” into two. The connector at the part where the tub “V’s” to where it connects to the milk collection kits is slightly short in my opinion.
It wasn’t an issue while pumping but once I was done, I unhooked the first side and despite setting the collection bottle in its stand, it tipped over when I went to unhook the second side. I nearly had a heart attack trying to catch the bottle and ensure no milk spilled out (none did, thankfully).
I got wiser after that and unhooked the tubing from the collection bottles BEFORE removing the breastshields from my hands-free pumping bra. Lesson learned.
No Memory Mode
One feature that I wish the Sonata had was a memory mode or ability to save your preferred pump settings.
Each time I pump with my Sonata, I need to set my suction level and manually hit the letdown button since my milk lets down closer to the one minute mark.
The Sonata is extremely easy to use even without the ability to record your settings since it really is just the push of a button. So despite missing this feature, I do feel the Sonata works just fine without it.
Let’s Talk Milk
So let’s talk milk in terms of what moms really want to know and that is, “How much can I pump with the Sonata?”
I have found the Sonata to be very, very efficient.
The only pump I feel it is neck and neck with in terms of output is my Medela Freestyle. I seem to be able to pump around the same with both of them.
I do feel the Sonata pumps more when the battery is low vs the Freestyle, however.
If you want a strong, portable pump that will allow you to maintain a strong milk supply, the Sonata is definitely a pump to consider.
I have been blown away by how much I love this pump.
It is easy to use, very lightweight, comes with tons of accessories, and is backed by one of the best breast pump companies. You will get a ton of use out of the MyMedela app and love the smart features of the Sonata.
I think this pump is best for moms who will be pumping a lot. Working moms, moms who pump on the go, and exclusively pumping moms should definitely consider the Sonata! This pump was made to be portable, quiet, and strong to maintain your supply. Exactly what a pumping mom needs!
Have questions or comments about the Sonata? Drop me a comment below!
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