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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?

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.

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Parents in New Jersey will soon get more money and more time for parental leave after welcoming a baby.

This week New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed off on legislation that extends New Jersey's paid family leave from six weeks to 12.

It also increases the benefit cap from 53% of the average weekly wage to 70%, meaning the maximum benefit for a parent on family leave will be $860 a week, up from $650.

It might not seem like a huge difference, but by raising the benefit from two-thirds of a parent's pay to 85%, lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping to encourage more parents to actually take leave, which is good for the parents, their baby and their family. "Especially for that new mom and dad, we know that more time spent bonding with a child can lead to a better long-term outcome for that child," Murphy said at a press conference this week.

The law will also make it easier for people to take time off when a family member is sick.

Because NJ's paid leave is funded through payroll deductions, workers could see an increase in those deductions, but Murphy is betting that workers and businesses will see the benefits in increasing paid leave benefits. "Morale goes up, productivity goes up, and more money goes into the system," Murphy said. "And increasingly, companies big and small realize that a happy workforce and a secure workforce is a key ingredient to their success."

The new benefits will go into effect in July 2020 (making next Halloween a good time to get pregnant in the Garden State).

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Whether you just need to stock up on diapers or you've had your eye on a specific piece of baby gear, you might want to swing by your local Walmart this Saturday, February 23rd.

Walmart's big "Baby Savings Day" is happening from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at participating Walmarts (but more deals can be found online at Walmart.com already and the website deals are happening for the rest of the month).

About 3,000 of the 3,570 Supercenter locations are participating in the sale (check here to see if your local Walmart is).

The deals vary, but in general you can expect up to 30% off on items like cribs, strollers, car seats, wipes, diapers and formula.

Some items, like this Graco Modes 3 Lite Travel System have been marked down by more than $100. Other hot items include this Lille Baby Complete Carrier (It's usually $119, going for $99 during the sale) and the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (for as low as $199).

So if you're in need of baby gear, you should check out this sale. Travel gear isn't the only category that's been marked down, there are some steep discounts on breast pumps, too.

Many of the Walmart locations will also be offering samples and expert demos of certain products on Saturday so it's worth checking out!

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Any Schumer has not had an easy pregnancy. She intended to keep working, but if you follow her on social media you know she's been very sick through each trimester.

And now in her final trimester she's had to cancel her tour due to hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as HG. It's a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness, and on Friday evening Schumer announced she is canceling the rest of her tour because of it.

“I vomit every time [I] ride in a car even for 5 minutes," Schumer explained in an Instagram post.

Due to the constant vomiting she's not cleared to fly and just can't continue to the tour.

This is not the first time Schumer has had to make an announcement about HG. Back in November, just weeks after announcing her pregnancy, she had to cancel shows and again broke the news via Instagram.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her little dog Tati, and spelled out the details of her health issues in the caption. "I have hyperemesis and it blows," Schumer wrote.

Poor Amy. Hyperemesis gravidarum is really tough.

Kate Middleton, Ayesha Curry and Motherly co-founder Elizabeth Tenety are among those who, like Schumer, have suffered from this form of severe morning sickness that can be totally debilitating.

As she previously wrote for Motherly, Tenety remembers becoming desperately ill, being confined to her apartment (mostly her bed) and never being far from a trash can, "I lost 10% of my body weight. I became severely dehydrated. I couldn't work. I couldn't even get out of bed. I could barely talk on the phone to tell my doctor how sick I was—begging them to please give me something, anything—to help."

Thankfully, she found relief through a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug.


Schumer probably knows all about that drug. It looks she is getting the medical help she obviously needs, and she was totally right to cancel the tour in order to stay as healthy as possible.

We're glad to see Schumer is getting help, and totally understand why she would have to cancel her shows. Any mama who has been through HG will tell you, that wouldn't be a show you'd want front row seats for anyway.

Get well soon, Amy!

[A version of this post was published November 15, 2018. It has been updated.]

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As a military spouse, Cydney Cooper is used to doing things alone. But when she delivered her twin daughters early after complications due to Influenza A, she was missing her husband Skylar more than ever.

Recovering from the flu and an emergency C-section, and trying to parent the couple's two older boys and be with her new infant daughters in the NICU, Cydney was exhausted and scared and just wanted her husband who was deployed in Kuwait with the Army and wasn't expected home for weeks.

Alone in the NICU 12 days after giving birth, Cydney was texting an update on the twins to her husband when he walked through the door to shoulder some of the massive burden this mama was carrying.

"I was typing up their summary as best I could and trying to remember every detail to tell him when I looked up and saw him standing there. Shock, relief, and the feeling that everything was just alright hit me at once. I just finally let go," she explains in a statement to Motherly.

The moment was captured on video thanks to a family member who was in on Skylar's surprise and the reunion has now gone viral, having been viewed millions of times. It's an incredible moment for the couple who hadn't seen each other since Skylar had a three-day pass in seven months earlier.

Cydney had been caring for the couple's two boys and progressing in her pregnancy when, just over a week before the viral video was taken, she tested positive for Influenza A and went into preterm labor. "My husband was gone, my babies were early, I had the flu, and I was terrified," she tells Motherly.

"Over the next 48 hours they were able to stop my labor and I was discharged from the hospital. It only lasted two days and I went right back up and was in full on labor that was too far to stop."

Cydney needed an emergency C-section due to the babies' positioning, and her medical team could not allow anyone who had previously been around her into the operating room because anyone close to Cydney had been exposed to the flu.

"So I went in alone. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and held my hand through the entire thing but at the same time, I felt very very alone and scared. [Skylar] had been present for our first two and he was my rock and I didn't have him when I wanted him the most. But I did it! He was messaging me the second they wheeled me to recovery. Little did I know he was already working on being on his way."

When he found out his baby girls were coming early Skylar did everything he could to get home, and seeing him walk into the NICU is a moment Cydney will hold in her heart and her memory forever. "I had been having to hop back and forth from our sons to our daughters and felt guilty constantly because I couldn't be with all of them especially with their dad gone. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life and I won't be forgetting it."

It's so hard for a military spouse to do everything alone after a baby comes, and the military does recognize this. Just last month the Army doubled the amount of leave qualifying secondary caregivers (most often dads) can take after a birth or adoption, from 10 days to 21 so that moms like Cydney don't have to do it all alone.

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