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Medela Sonata Review

Price $399


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The Medela Sonata is my all-time favorite pump and my everyday go-to. Besides having some handy bells and whistles, it’s more comfortable and more efficient than other pumps I’ve used.

To give you some context, I’ve used MANY pumps over my years, including every double electric breast pump Medela has to offer.

(Full disclosure: I received this as a free sample, but these opinions are my own. And, as always, this review is not sponsored.)

medela sonata smart breast pump

Although I’m usually able to breastfeed my baby on-demand (I work from home), I still need to pump a few times a day. I pump not only to create stock, but also to help boost my supply when/if I need to.

The Sonata is the most comfortable pump I’ve used because you can personalize the rhythm and the strength of suction. Other reviewers agree that the Sonata is very gentle while still providing effective suction (this is a hard balance to strike).

In my opinion, exclusively-pumping and working moms would benefit the most from this pump, as it seems to extract the most milk of any pump I’ve used — and in the shortest amount of time. Since the endgame with any breast pump is milk output (efficiency), I believe this is by far the best feature of the Sonata.

The Sonata is unique for its smart features, namely the ability to connect to the Medela Family app, which tracks all manner of pumping data, such as daily milk output, battery life, session length, phases, levels, etc.

The Sonata has other neat features I like, although they aren’t necessarily one-of-a-kind.

First, it is quiet. And I mean very quiet — so much so that users rave about being able to use the Sonata discreetly in offices, in public, on conference calls, or in the middle of the night.

It’s also small, lightweight, has a (sort of) handle for easy carrying, and a rechargeable battery which lasts for about 3 – 4 sessions, or approximately an hour. For comparison, the Spectra S1 has a battery life of about 4 hours — if long battery life is super important to you, you’re better off with the Spectra.

For many women, the battery-charging feature is a major bonus, and it’s usually found only on the higher-end pumps. At home, this means you can move around more freely, even doing things like brushing your teeth or putting on makeup while pumping. At work or out and about, it means freedom from outlets. It’s also great for travel (airplane bathrooms, oyyy).

Medela Sonata Review

I’m not alone in my love for the Sonata’s clock/timer feature, which allows me to visually see the duration of each pumping session; instead of tuning out and forgetting how long I’ve been pumping, I always know my exact stats. If you’re pumping to increase your supply, it’s very important to know the duration of each session. With the Sonata, you’ll know exactly how long “past empty” you need to pump (experts suggest that pumping for 5 minutes past empty will signal your body to create more milk next time). For me, this feature is seriously non-negotiable.

Lastly, the Sonata is nice looking — it’s got a sleek design, with a backlit touch screen (another great feature for dark rooms or use in the middle of the night), and is really easy to operate with one hand. Yes, my PISA now looks comparatively antiquated next to this one!

I have to say that the biggest downfall of the Sonata pump is the parts – other than the shields and the bottles, the rest of the parts are not compatible with any other Medela pumps, including the PISA. HUGE bummer. I will say, though, that even though there are a lot of pieces to wash, and at first it’s kind of tricky to figure out how to assemble, you get the hang of it pretty quickly.

Previous version shown. Now comes w/ Flex Shields.

Some reviewers have complained that milk occasionally gets stuck in the tubing, but I’ve never had that issue. In fact, the Sonata is a closed-system pump and is designed with a milk barrier that’s placed at the breast shield connector, which keeps milk from passing into the tubing.

Bottom Line: the Sonata is my absolute fave right now. And nobody paid me to say this.

Having used both, I do think the Spectra S1 is comparable to the Sonata in almost every regard except for the “smart” capabilities and the professional-looking bag, which holds everything you need. Thus, if your insurance company offers the Sonata, go for it! If not (and you’re paying out-of-pocket), I might consider spending less for the Spectra S1, which lists for $199 (vs. $399). That’s a $200 difference! You be the judge.

Overall, for its efficiency, comfort, and practical features, the Sonata is a fabulous option for pumping moms who can afford it.


  1. Avatar of Sophia

    I found your website very interested and informative. I have read about this first time. By The way, I have learned new things from this post.

  2. Avatar of trish

    I found this extremely helpful. I recently purchased this pump on amazon and am waiting for reimbursement from my insurance company, but I read so many mixed reviews, even though my SIL uses this pump its nice to see more positive reviews. I cant wait to use it! I just wish they would make adapters to fit for the storage bags, but oh well, I can pump and pour.

    1. I agree, I wish they made adapters for freezer storage bags too! Glad to hear you’re getting reimbursed through your insurance, as I know it’s not offered through insurance at this time. BUT you will really love this machine!

  3. Avatar of Anita

    I just purchased the Spectra S1 with silicone massager shields for extra comfort (paid $99 extra for the portable option of the Spectra and $8.99 for silicone massager shields through aeroflowbreastpumps.com who were incredibly helpful) – the Spectra S2 would have been completely covered by insurance but was interested in these upgrades. Happened to log in today and see your review, AFTER placing my order!! I believe the Sonata isn’t covered by my insurance (apart from 15%) so that would be a more major investment..was just concerned about the increased comfort aspect of the Sonata Pump you mentioned, (excuse ignorance as haven’t started breastfeeding yet) as am worried from a more vain perspective, my breasts might sag more long-term, if they are experiencing a daily level of discomfort in a pump. How much more comfortable would the Sonata be to the Spectra S1? Would it be worth buying the Medela Sonata if it is more comfortable as you have mentioned…or is comfort parallel between the Medela Sonata and Spectra S1 and it is more just the smart capabilities and bag that are different.

    “The Sonata is the most comfortable pump I’ve used because you can personalize the rhythm and the strength of suction. Other reviewers agree that the Sonata is very gentle while still providing effective suction (this is a hard balance to strike).”
    “Having used both now, I do think the Spectra S1 is very comparable to the Sonata in almost every regard except for the “smart” capabilities and the professional-looking bag, which holds everything you need.”

    1. Hi Anita! You’re going to LOVE your Spectra! The Spectra is truly very comfortable and I have the standard shields. Unless you need the smart capabilities, the Spectra and the Sonata feel very similar. You might want to talk to your OB, but I don’t think breast sagging is related to pumping. And in any case, if you feel discomfort at all during pumping (no matter which pump you’re using), you need to change your shield to a larger or smaller size so that you have the right fit. The Sonata is wonderful, but only worth the extra money if you need those features. Otherwise, the Spectra will be perfect!

  4. Avatar of Sarah S

    Hi! I know I’m a bit late to the game here, but I’m expecting my 2nd kiddo in a few months (11 weeks and 5 days to be exact, but who’s counting – ha!). I used a PISA with my first while working full time starting at 16 weeks (and a 1-2 month stint of full time pumping earlier on). I’m curious if you, or any readers, have opinions about reusing an already heavily-used PISA (but still worked fine when I stopped pumping a year and a half ago) or getting a brand new pump (not sure what insurance will cover this time around). I’m intrigued by all the new options, but am totally set up with tons of spare PISA parts. I’ve found mixed reports on the sanitation of re-using a personal pump, but I’d also be interested in hearing about people with experiences relating to the durability of the PISA – if it’s going to crap out after 3 months of pumping, I might as well purchase a new pump from the get go. Any insight from the author or other readers would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Sarah! Apologies for not responding sooner. I hope you found something that is working for you! I’d love to hear what you decided. Personally, I too used a PISA with my first. Then it sat for a couple years. I used it with my second and it worked just fine. Because my insurance covered a new pump with every birth, I got the Spectra and LOVED it!! At my request, I received the Sonata to test. I believe that the suction, comfort and output of the Sonata and the Specta are very comparable. However, if you are exclusively pumping from work and need to track ounces, feedings, length of pumping etc. I would recommend spending the extra bucks to get the Sonata. Can’t go wrong with both!

  5. Avatar of Katy Greene

    Your website really awesome including your content, content formatting & photos! First time visit your site, but can’t close the browser! Anyway, learned lots of thing from here about Medela Sonata. Thank you.

  6. Avatar of kat

    Ive read your review and just really want to know the difference between the sonata and the medela advanced. Which one do you prefer, and why? If its just the smart capabilities then should I just go with the advanced? or do you really get more comfort and better suction with the sonata? Please help this asap this has been an ongoing debate for weeks.

    1. Hi Kat! In my opinion, between the PISA and the Sonata, I would choose the Sonata for comfort. However, only choose the Sonata if you need the smart capabilities – for example you work outside of the home and need the best output. Don’t get me wrong, the Advanced is a good solid pump and typically free with insurance (vs the Sonata which is not and very expensive!). Another option that I like just as much as the Sonata is the Spectra S1/S2. It’s comfortable, has great power but lacks the smart capabilities. Just choose what you need for your lifestyle and budget.

  7. Avatar of Kate

    Hello! FTM here, delivering in 10 weeks. I plan to exclusively breastfeed and will be off work for at least four months, then returning half-time for four months before going back full-time to work (so eight months away from full-time work).

    My insurance covers the Spectra S1 and S2, as well as the Medela Pump in Style. I like the idea of the extra features of the Sonata, but not sure if I want to spend the cash (but it’s not the end of the world either). Also, all the fanciest versions of every baby device seem to have a phone app connected to it – not sure what I really need to track (but I like the idea of tracking).

    Given my schedule and insurance coverage, what would you pick? Thanks for any thoughts!

    1. Hi Kate! Congrats on your first 🙂 Based on your back to work schedule, I would go with the Spectra S1. By the time you go back full-time, you will be a seasoned pumper and have a really good idea of how much you’re pumping and how much your baby needs at each feeding. The suction, comfort and portability are the same for the Spectra and the Sonata. I would recommend the Sonata if you are going back right away or if your baby has a special requirement per your doc. In my opinion, having too many apps and “smart” features gets in the way of going with your mama gut. Best of luck to you!

  8. Avatar of Emily

    How does it compare to the Symphony? I rented the hospital grade Symphony pump last time, and was very happy with it, but am attracted to the quieter and more portable benefits of the Sonata. TIA!

    1. Hi Emily! The Sonata is a personal-use pump and the Symphony is a multi-user pump. There are two rhythms that the Sonata features: The Signature Rhythm (Rhythm 1), which is inspired by the Symphony Breast Pump and the Lifestyle Rhythm (Rhythm 2), which is an alternate rhythm for when you want to change your pumping routine. I’ve used both and can tell you they are about the same in terms of output. Go with whichever is cheaper! But keep in mind that the Sonata is best if you need to track your sessions and way lighter to travel with.

  9. Avatar of abby sutcliffe

    I used the PISA with my first and it was fine but I hated being plugged into the wall and the battery pack was annoying. I plan to pump/breastfeed for a year again and have access to another pump at work so would just need something for home. This looks like a great alternative! Have you have any experience with the freestyle flex medela pump? It looks even more portable/convenient, but I wanted to make sure it has the same power as this one 🙂 Thanks!

  10. Avatar of null

    I was able to hack the sonata with my PISA parts. Just needed to get the backflow protectors and the Bellababy tubing.

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