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The Medela Sonata Pump Review

9 things you should know about Medela's smart pump.

The Medela Sonata Pump Review

I don’t particularly like pumping. I’d rather nurse my baby than letting a robot suck milk out of my breasts. But hey… Mama’s gotta work, and mama’s gotta play. And so I pump. I pump so that the nanny has milk to feed said baby; and so that dad can take the lead while I go out or get a little me-time in the books.

Now, for many moms, pumping isn’t an easy feat. Finding a private place and carving time out to do it once or twice or even thrice a day; cleaning all of the pump parts; figuring out how to get the most milk out and stressing out the second your supply dips even an ounce; and, in my case, figuring out what to do with my littles while I pump for 20 or so minutes. Pumping is work -- it’s a sport, and it’s not for everyone. But what if the right apparatus and new technology could make the whole shebang much, much easier?

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Smart pumps -- they’re a thing, and they’re here to challenge the very concept of a breast pump and how a breast pump should work. The goal: to make pumping a whole lot more convenient, easier and more accessible for all the lactating moms -- working or not -- out there. Leading breast pump brand Medela recently joined the trend with the Sonata, and I've put it to the test. Here are 9 things you should know about the Sonata pump, from Medela.

1. It’s so so silent. The decibel level stays around 50 dB, which compares to the sound of a quiet conversation or background noise at a library. You know what that means, right? You can pump wherever, whenever without raising eyebrows, waking up anyone during a nighttime session, or having to hike up the volume during a Netflix marathon. Triple thumbs up.

2. It’s compact and portable. Plus, it’s lightweight, and the interface has a sort of handle that helps you carry the pump around without fear of dropping it.

3. It has a rechargeable battery. So you can charge it at home overnight and throw it in your bag without needing another cord. A cordless pump also means that you get to move freely during pumping sessions. This will come in handy, especially at home -- you know, when you need to pump AND pack your toddler’s lunch and get him that toy he absolutely needs right there, right now (apparently). So. Many. Meltdowns. Averted. The rechargeable battery lasts three to four sessions -- enough to make it through a day’s worth of pumping, and a huge plus if you are traveling!

4. It’s a medical grade pump. Despite the fact that it is small and light, the Sonata can pack a punch. It features the same pumping technology than that of the Symphony, Medela’s hospital-grade pump. In short, this is what you want if you need to up your milk supply, pump more quickly and efficiently, or need a little help with a clogged duct.

5. It’s gentle. Though strong, the suction of the Sonata remains comfortable. It almost, *almost* feels like a nursing baby, but without the teeth and the hair pulling and the nose picking. But more than that, you can actually adjust the strength and rhythm of the vacuum; and the touchscreen buttons on the interface makes it easy to do so. So easy that you can actually change the suction speed with your toe or elbow. You know, in case your hands are busy helping your tot put his shoes on.

6. It comes with an app that records everything. If, like me, you can never remember when you last pumped or what boob you last pumped from, rejoice! The app is your very own pumping personal assistant -- no more guesstimating, more brain space for mama! You'll know your exact stats all of the time: how much milk you pump, what boob you pump it from and how long it takes you to pump it. Plus, you can compute all sorts of other information: like your baby’s feedings, his sleep and changing schedules, and his growth.

7. The app gives you 24/7 access to board certified lactation consultants. Many nursing moms need help with pumping or breastfeeding, especially at the beginning. So it’s a thoughtful addition to this pump's arsenal. All you have to do is subscribe to one of Medela’s plans (starting at $79/month), and you can chat with a breastfeeding specialist via video chat. If you aren’t so keen on paying a fee, the app also comes with evidenced-based articles that will help solve any pumping woes.

8. It’s easy to clean. The Sonata kit has six separate parts to assemble every time you need to pump: the breast shield, the shield connector, the connector cap, the membrane, the valve and the bottle. But all of them are bigger with fewer crevices, which makes them easier to wash. Plus, bigger means harder to lose.

9. Insurances are starting to cover it. With the steep $399 price tag (around $150 more than other Medela pumps), the Sonata isn't accessible to all the mamas whose pumping experience could benefit from all its smart features. So we're loving the fact that some insurance companies are starting to cover it, while others may offer it as an upgrade, at a discounted price.

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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