Review of the Medela Sonata Pump

review-of-the-medela-sonata-pump

(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.

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Review of the Medela Sonata Pump

The Sonata is a double electric, single-user breast pump. It features their hospital grade technology from the stand-out Medela Symphony.

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.

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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.

I have found the Sonata to yield me more milk than my Spectra, Medela Pump in Style, and is similar to my Medela Freestyle. All amazing pumps that perform incredibly well.

So let’s talk about the specific features of the Sonata!

Features of the Medela Sonata Breast Pump

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  • 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?

  1. Sonata Breast Pump
  2. (2) 24mm Breast Shields
  3. (2) 27mm Breast Shields
  4. (4) Milk Collection Bottles with Lids
  5. (2) Bottle Stands
  6. (2) Connector Caps
  7. (2) Membranes
  8. (2) Connector Bodies
  9. (2) Valves
  10. Power Adapter
  11. Tote Bag
  12. Ice Pack
  13. 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

The Design

Let’s start with the design of the Sonata.

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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 Comfort

I have used the Medela Pump in Style and Medela Freestyle. Both great pumps that I had tons of success with but for me, personally, they were never the most comfortable pumps.

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.

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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
  • Sleep
  • Weight and Height

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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.

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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.

Battery Power

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.

Tubing

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.

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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.

Pumps like the Spectra, Motif Duo, and Medela Freestyle feature the ability to set your program and the pump will operate that way automatically.

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.

I have been able to pump slightly more than my Spectra S1. I pump significantly more than my Medela Pump in Style, Ameda Purely Yours, Ameda Finesse, and Motif Duo.

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.

This is a very, very strong pump and one that Medela boasted about as featuring the performance of their standout, hospital grade pump, the Medela Symphony.

Bottomline

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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!

If you want more information about the Medela Sonata, click here!

You can also visit Medela.com to learn more! Have questions or comments about the Sonata? Drop me a comment below! 

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Buy the Sonata and Accessories Here!



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10 comments

  1. Happy Mommy says:

    Which pump would you choose between the Sonata or the Freestyle?
    I’m exclusively pumping
    Performance is my priority one
    (price is not really and issue)
    Thank you!

    • Heather Grace says:

      I love and own both the Sonata and the Freestyle.

      They are two VERY different pumps so my answer would be based on where you will be pumping and your lifestyle.

      The Freestyle is perfect for moms on the go. It is very compact and can fit into your purse with little effort. The battery lasts all day for me (at least 6-8 pumping sessions) without dying. If you plan to be on the go at all, the Freestyle is a great choice. This is my go-to if I am away for a conference, vacation, etc.

      The Sonata is portable and does have a built-in rechargeable battery but you need to carry it in its pump bag. It is the current pump I am using, though I pump at home most of the time this go around. The Sonata really hits it out of the park with the technical abilities that I mentioned above. It really allows for a more customized pumping experience. I feel because of the difference rhythm settings and pump settings, it is a more comfortable pump to use. I love the MyMedela App and use it often to keep track of ounces pump for my freezer stash. It is my pump of choice at home.

      So when it comes down to it, pump strength is about the same but the bells and whistles of these two pumps do differ. Based on your lifestyle and situation either of these would make a great choice.

  2. Dayanne says:

    Hi!! I would like to buy a sonata breast pump, but my flange size is 19 mm and medela’s smallest one is 21, do you know if I can buy a flange elsewhere that would fit ? I know maymom sells them but they won’t fit on the sonata. Thank you!!

    • Heather Grace says:

      Hi Dayanne!

      You are correct that a 19mm breastshield does not exist in the personal fit design for the Sonata. There are the one piece breastshields at 19mm but the Sonata is the two-piece design.

      There is a silicon insert made by Maymom that might solve the issue for you. It reduces the 24mm down to a 19mm. It is compatible with the personal fit breastshields but be warned I have not personally tried these inserts so I can’t speak to how well they perform. Reviews seem mixed but I would suspect some of that is how well it is inserted and if the user is actually using the correct sized flange. You can see the insert, here!

      This is the best solution I have for you. I hope Medela comes out with a 19mm personal fit breastshield at some point! I hope this helps!

    • Heather Grace says:

      Hi Wendy!

      When comparing the Sonata to the Pump in Style (PISA), you really are comparing apples to oranges. The PISA is a fairly basic pump in style and performance. It does not have digital controls so you have to set the suction and speed manually. Some versions do have a “Letdown” button which will put the PISA in letdown mode but the stripped down versions don’t feature that.

      The Sonata, on the other hand, is one of the most technology packed pumps I have ever used. Pairing it with the MyMedela app and it gives you so many options. It really gives moms that ability to tailor their pump to their body and needs.

      The Sonata is hands down quieter! The PISA is super loud and one of the louder pumps I have used.

      The PISA is an open system so you need to ensure you are maintaining and caring for the tubing as well as the other parts. The Sonata is a closed system. Some moms prefer a closed system.

      You get some extras with the Sonata in terms of rhythm and pump performance like the technology from the Symphony (Medela’s monster of a hospital grade pump) that you don’t get in the PISA. I definitely pump more milk with my Sonata than I do with the PISA. The Sonata is much more comfortable to use too.

      Overall, I would choose the Sonata 100Xs over the PISA. It’s an amazing pump! I hope this helps! Let me know if I can help answer any more questions!

  3. Kera says:

    So it appears that none of the sonata parts are interchangeable with the Pump In Style. Is that correct? I was hoping to get the sonata and have spare parts, but I think they are too smart (money-seeking) to do that. Ha
    How easy is the sonata to clean compared to the in style?

    • Heather Grace says:

      That is correct, the Pump in Style parts are not the same.

      The pumps perform completely different and part of that is the fact that the Sonata is a Closed System pump and the Pump in Style is an Open System pump. So the Sonata parts have the milk barrier as part of the collection kit.

      I did not find the Sonata parts hard to clean, with that said. After the first time sanitizing all the parts, the parts that you need to clean after each use isn’t a ton. It took me a minute to learn to put it all together but then it was nothing to do. Things like the tubing don’t need to be sanitized since it is a closed system so that saves time vs the pump in style. So there are some positives.

      But I hear you on wishing you could use the part interchangeably! Unfortunately, the Sonata parts are for the Sonata only! A complete extra set of the parts will run you somewhere under $50 so not too bad for a duplicate of all the parts.

      I hope this helps!

  4. Lauren says:

    What’s your preference between the Medela Sonata and the Spectra S1. I’m torn between the two. I’ve never pumped before and my baby is due in a few weeks and I really want to try to breastfeed/ pump as much as possible. The cost issue of the pumps isn’t a problem. I’ll be returning to work around 10-12 weeks so I need a pump that’s quiet, efficient, and does not require tons of time for cleaning/etc as I will have to be quick to pump bc of work. Now that you’ve had the pump a while, how does the Sonata compare to the Spectra S1? I’ve read reviews that the Sonata doesn’t hold up well, so what’s your experience? Thanks for any help!

    • Heather Grace says:

      Hi Lauren!
      Thank you for dropping this question here. I know you sent me a message on the Facebook page and I replied to that, but let me also put that reply here to hopefully help any other moms wondering the same thing!

      I do own both the Sonata and the Spectra S1. So I think I can provide some good feedback for you! I have not had any issues with my Sonata. As with any pump that runs on a battery option, it is important to keep it charged up. A lot of times, people use it on a battery that is less than 50% and you can see the performance drop (suction).

      Both the S1 and the Sonata will lose suction if the battery gets too low. It’s just a fact.

      These are both amazing pumps so I can see why you are having trouble. So here’s a few facts based on what you shared:

      – Good pump for work: Both the Sonata and S1 are great for working moms. Both have built-in rechargeable batteries. Both portable and similar in size. The Sonata might have the edge only because of the technology it comes with. It is truly a smart pump and it pairs with the MyMedela App is a working moms dream. You can keep so much data about what you pumped for the day, etc on the app and it helps keep track of your freezer stash.

      – Quiet Pump – The Sonata has the edge here. It is very quiet as far as pumps go. The S1 isn’t what I would consider a loud pump, however. But the Sonata is definitely quieter.

      – Efficient – This is a tough one. Both the S1 and the Sonata are considered hospital strength pumps. They are very strong and have a ton of options to help get you to a suction and speed combo that works for you. They are both very efficient. While I found both pumps to be comfortable to use, a lot of moms prefer the Spectra Brand over the Medela pumps because of how gentle the Spectra pumps are. I think for moms who are sensitive to the pump, this translates into more efficient for them. They are able to tolerate pumping longer and at higher suction thus yielding more milk. The Sonata has completely different suction from other Medela personal use pumps, however, and is modeled after their hospital giant, the Symphony. I found it very comfortable but I know moms who are sensitive and still prefer the Spectra.

      – I know you said price did matter but there is a little price difference between the two. Not too much though. The basic S1 doesn’t come with many accessories, however. You need to find the upgraded set to get things like a tote bag. The Sonata comes with tons of stuff including a tote, cooler, their signature contoured ice pack, etc. You do get more for your money with the Sonata.

      – Spare Parts – Something else to consider is that Spectra parts will have to be ordered online. They are not in stores here. Amazon has them, so you can find them easily. Medela pumps are in just about every major store that sells baby items too – Target, Walmart, Buy Buy Baby, etc.

      At the end of the day, both would be an amazing choice. With the Spectra you will get a great pump that is super efficient and comfortable to use. With the Sonata you will get a strong pump that is also amazingly smart with tons of features.

      It would be a tough choice for me! I hope I gave you some more insight to help you choose! Please let me know if I can help in any other way! Take care!

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