Medela Breast Pump Overview

Sonata Smart Pump on stack of books

Bottle or Breast?

Bottle, breast, or both?
It’s a controversial topic and only you will know what's best for you and your family once baby arrives and you give it a try. So, where do you start your research about pumping? Right here is a great place to start!

We want to make sure that you are armed with everything you need to know about breast pumps and how to choose the right one to complement your breastfeeding journey. Today we are breaking down everything you need to know about Medela Breast Pumps—patience and persistence sold separately.

Purchasing a breast pump can require a lot of research [along with a car seat, stroller, and all the other gear] so we want to help you decide which one is best for you before you buy. We have individual product reviews on our Learning Centre that are full of information about many Medela pumps—we’ve linked them below for your convenience. Today we are going to take things one step further and break each Medela pump down for you in one quick and convenient article.

Let's start with a handful of terms that you may find confusing when reading multiple product listings.

Pumping Glossary

2-Phase expression Technology: a “two-speed” pumping process that emulates a baby’s natural suckling rhythms by switching from a fast to slow rhythm while the pump is operating.
Closed Pumping System: Prevents milk overflowing and leaking into the pump mechanism and helps ensure your expressed milk travels through a hygienic route.
Double Electric Pump: Designed for moms who pump several times a day, including pump dependent moms.
Single Manual Pump: Non-electric; ideal for traveling, occasional time away from your baby, or as a back-up to your usual double electric breast pump.
MaxFlow Technology: Technology designed by Medela that generates a vacuum with micro-vibrations for increased milk flow and optimal performance
Personal Fit Flex Breast Shields: efficient and comfortable breast shields that allow you to express 11.8% more milk per minute faster than traditional breast shields

The Medela Family Overview 

Harmony 

Harmony Manual Breast Pump

Pump Stats
Single pump
Non-electric pump
Updated in 2020
Usage: 5-10 sessions/month
Price: $

The Harmony is a single hand-powered breast pump. It’s small, lightweight, and portable which makes it a great option for travel or occasional use. If you need to be away from your baby and don’t want to tote around your electric everyday pump around in your suitcase then the Harmony may be ideal for you. It also is an ideal pump for someone who is pumping very occasionally for that one-off afternoon away from baby.

Swing 

Swing Single Electric Pump

Pump Stats
Single pump
Electric pump
Price: $$

The Swing comes with a powerful little motor and a clip on the back so that you can pump around your home on the go. It is battery operated but you are limited to only expressing milk from one breast at a time which makes it ideal for the mom who wants a versatile sidekick to complement her breastfeeding journey.


Pump in Style 

Pump in Style with Maxflow™ Technology

Pump Stats
Double pump
Electric pump
Updated in 2020, original launch 1996
Usage: 3-5 sessions/week
Price: $$$
Pump in Style Product Review 

Medela Pump in Style on stack of books on nightstand
The Pump In Style® has been redesigned from the ground up! It features an innovative vacuum mechanism that combines research-based 2-Phase Expression® technology with MaxFlow ™ technology. The new advanced motor generates a vacuum with micro-vibrations for effective milk expression. It's straightforward with 4 simple buttons for intuitive use + 10 pre-programmed settings. 

Freestyle 

Freestyle Flex

Pump Stats
Double pump
Electric Pump
Smart Pump
Updated in 2020, original launch 2008
Usage: frequent, daily
Price: $$$$
Medela Freestyle Flex Product Review 

Medela Freestyle Flex Breast Pump on nightstand and a pile of books


The Freestyle Flex is full of technology and boasts a laundry list of convenient features. It is geared towards meeting the needs of the on-the-go modern-millennial-multitasking-mom who values technology and craves convenience. It has a built-in battery, USB port, LED light-up display, and allows you to pump more milk in less time. We love the delayed start option that gives you a little head start of 10 seconds to place those breast shields in place—super helpful when you are about to embark on a double pumping session and did, we mention that it pairs with Bluetooth seamlessly to the My Medela app to track your pumping sessions?

Sonata

Sonata Smart Breast Pump

Pump Stats
Double pump
Electric Pump
Smart Pump
Launched in 2017
Usage: frequent, daily
Price: $$$$
Medela Sonata vs. Freestyle Flex Product Comparison 

Medela Sonata Breast Pump on night stand and with stack of books


The Sonata launched in 2017 as the first-ever Medela smart breast pump. It is a double electric pump with a rechargeable battery, Bluetooth connectivity, and touchscreen display. It’s a modern-looking pump that can live on your nightstand but has a convenient carry handle so you can move it to any room in your home. When it launched in 2017 it was the quietest Medela pump on the market—but the new Freestyle Flex is just as quiet. The biggest difference between the Freestyle Flex and the Sonata is the size and shape – the Sonata is round and weighs about 2 lbs.


Symphony 

Symphony Electric Pump

Pump Stats
Double pump
Electric Pump, Hospital Grade
Smart Pump
Usage: frequent/daily
Price: not available for purchase, rental pump only

We often get asked about the Symphony hospital grade pump, but the truth is – with the re-launch of many of Medela’s double electric pumps that we mentioned above you now have access to similar technology at home. You can rent this hospital-grade pump in the NICU or Maternity ward and decide later which personal pump above to buy. The Symphony is ideal for the mom who needs to initiate and build her milk supply for the very beginning. It is best for moms of multiples or preemies.

so now what?

Once you’ve decided on a pump, you'll need to get fitted for a comfy nursing bra. Medela has an intimate apparel line and many accessories that will compliment your breastfeeding journey. Confused about how to choose? We've got an LC piece called Nursing Bra 101 that breaks everything down for you based on the many stages of growth you will experience.


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