Reviews

Medela Symphony Breast Pump Review

The Medela Symphony Breast Pump is an electrical hospital grade breast pump, renowned for its excellent suction power. This nifty little breast pump is suitable for multi-users and the fact that it is easy to use and assemble makes this breast pump a favorite amongst new nursing mothers!

Normal breast pump vs. hospital grade breast pump

breast pump

When differentiating between breast pumps, one can usually classify breast pumps into two primary groups:

  • Manual
  • Electrical

Many breast pumps these days are now also labeled “hospital grade”. This is due to the fact that “hospital grade” is not officially defined by anyone. The term can be used rather loosely within the industry. Hospital grade breast pumps, are usually simply breast pumps that are used by hospitals. But here is more or less what you can expect when a breast pump is referred to as hospital grade.

Hospital grade breast pumps are safe to be used by multiple users, given that each individual uses their own accessory kit. In other words, it is almost always a “closed-circuit” system. These types of breast pumps are also on the heavier side while the pump itself presumably provides stronger suction power than a regular electrical breast pump. Hospital grade breast pumps also tend to cost more than your average electrical breast pump due to its suction power and multi-user status.

Why do some new mothers prefer a hospital grade breast pump over a personal electrical breast pump? While each mother has their own reasons, they usually include the stronger suction power that allows the pump to empty the breast in less time. Due to its stronger suction power, hospital grade breast pumps are also excellent for building up and/or establishing milk supply. Many new mothers with twins also opt for hospital grade for both milk supply and time management.

The Medela Symphony Breast Pump

It is important to understand that in most cases, the Medela Symphony Breast Pump is sold as a unit. You will still need to purchase the accessory kit (needed to actually pump out milk) separately. Today, we will cover both components seeing that the one is unable to function without the other.

The breast pump

Contents

When purchasing the Medela Symphony Breast Pump, you can expect to receive the breast pump itself, a container stand, quick start card, cord protector, English Symphony 2.0 program card and an instruction manual.

Two-phase expression technology

The biggest selling point of the Medela Symphony Breast Pump is its one of a kind 2 – phase expression technology, the Medela trademark.

Once the machine is turned on, the Let-down mode is initiated during which the breasts are stimulated. This prepares the breasts for optimal milk expression. After 2 minutes, the pump will automatically transition to the second phase- Expression mode, during which milk will actually be expressed into the containers. This impressive technology leads to faster, more efficient milk production.

The breast pump is also designed in such a way to mimic your baby’s natural nursing rhythm, also leading to better results when expressing milk. Unfortunately you will not be able to adjust the speed on this pump.

Single or double

The Medela Symphony is safe to use on a daily basis. The breast pump features two separate membrane units that functions independently, allowing you to choose between expressing just one breast or expressing both breasts during a single session. Simply attach or remove the second collection kit as you choose.

Operation

medela symphony

Another great advantage of the Medela Symphony Breast Pump is its simplicity despite the fact that it is a hospital grade breast pump. The breast pump basically consists of a digital screen, an off button, a Let-down button and a knob that can be used to control the suction power.

This simplicity makes it perfect for everyday use. The pumping itself is also relatively quiet compared to other hospital grade breast pumps so you don’t have to worry about waking your little one if you need to pump during the night.

Portability

As is the case with most hospital grade breast pumps, the size of the Medela Symphony Breast Pump makes it almost impossible to travel with.

The breast pump alone weighs 7.9 lbs. and is a rather bulky (13 x 8 x 10 inches) piece of equipment. Also note that the machine needs to be plugged-in in order to function so you won’t be able to use it as an on-the-go breast pump. This breast pump is best suited to be used in one place only.

Suction

The Medela Symphony Breast Pump offers incredible suction power. Once you’ve gotten used to the sheer speed at which this breast pump is able to express milk, it will be challenging to get used to a normal electrical breast pump again. After all, this specific model is known for its ability to establish decent milk supply in new mothers.

Affordability

You can expect to fork out quite a bit of dough when purchasing the Medela Symphony Breast Pump. The pump is very expensive compared to a personal electrical breast pump but depending on where you purchase yours, you are likely to receive either a 3- or 5-year warranty on your pump.

If you have your heart set on this specific breast pump but you are unable to afford it, keep in mind that most hospitals rent out breast pumps and the good news is that the Medela Symphony is a quite a popular make amongst hospitals so it should be easy to find.

Multiple users

Like we’ve mentioned, hospital grade breast pumps are usually safe for use by multiple users, which is also the case with the Medela Symphony. We don’t want to bore you with the details but the breast pump contains two pistons that create suction as they move up and down as opposed to air being circulated through the machine by means of a sucking motion, making it safe for multiple users.

If you find the thought of sharing a breast pump a little unsettling, remember that each individual will also need her own Medela Symphony accessory kit/pumping system to be able to express milk from the breast pump so the only item you essentially share, is the pump itself.

It is this multi-user functionality that makes the Medela Symphony Breast Pump popular amongst employers that provide breast pumping facilities at work and if you do decide to cave in and purchase yourself a Medela Symphony Breast Pump, remember that you can always resell it once you no longer need to express milk.

The Medela Symphony Double Pumping System

The Medela Symphony Double Pumping System is a required accessory kit/pumping system that you need in order to use the Medela Symphony Breast Pump. In most cases, the double pumping system and the breast pump is sold separately. This makes it easier to replace parts from the pumping system if need be. The Medela Symphony Double Pumping System is easy to use and sits rather comfortably on the breast.

Contents

The Medela Symphony Double Pumping System includes 2 x BPA free milk bottles (5 oz/150ml each) with lids, 2 x 24mm PersonalFit Breast shields, 2 x PersonalFit Breast shield connectors, 2 x tubes, valves, membrane caps and protective membranes and 4 x membranes.

Note that the nipples for these bottles are excluded and if you require a different size nipple shield, you will have to purchase that separately as well. You can also make use of Medela’s Pump and Save bags instead of bottles when expressing milk from the pump, sold separately.

Assembly

The Medela Symphony Double Pumping System is easy to assembly and it should not take you more than 2 minutes to assemble everything. Once assembled, simply connect the valves to the Medela Symphony Breast Pump and you are ready to start expressing milk.

Compatibility

The Medela Symphony Double Pumping System is specifically designed to be used in conjunction with the Medela Symphony Breast Pump.

The breast pump creates suction by means to two pistons moving up and down and the pumping system contains a special attachment that allows the pistons to move up and down. Therefore it is essential that you purchase only the Medela Symphony Double Pumping System as opposed to other Medela kits that are sold on the market.

This kit, however, can be used on other Medela breast pumps such as the Pump-In-Style but keep in mind that it was essentially created to fit its other half, the Medela Symphony breast pump.

Cleaning

While it is relatively easy to clean your Medela Symphony Double Pumping System, it will take a minute or two. First you have to remove the system from the breast pump and disable the tubing and membranes. Rinse tubes using warm, soapy water and follow with clean water in order to prevent any “soapiness” within the tubes. Leave tubes to dry before assembling the system again.

Affordability

Unlike the Medela Symphony Beast Pump, the double pumping system is much more affordable. Depending on how often you use the double pumping system, you shouldn’t have to replace any of the parts too often seeing that the system is quite durable and should last for some time.

In Conclusion

The Medela Symphony is an excellent electrical, duel-pumping, hospital grade breast pump that relies on its unique 2-phase expression technology to provide the optimum desired outcome when it comes to expressing breast milk. If you need to build up or establish milk supply, we highly recommend this breast pump.

While the Medela Symphony is bulky and heavy to carry around, its suction power and speed certainly makes up for it. We also love that noise is kept to a minimum.

Having to purchase the breast pump and pumping system separately can be a little inconvenient but it does make it easier to purchase replacement parts for the pumping system if and when needed. It is also a pity that they only offer the 24mm PersonalFit Breast shields with the kit as some new mothers will be forced to go out and purchase additional breast shields and 24mm shields will essentially go to waste if not passed on to someone that can actually use them. At least the 24mm shield is a rather regular size.

We admit that while you will have to dig deep in order to afford this breast pump, it will be well worth the investment. You can also rent one from the hospital if you are unable to purchase the breast pump. With its durability and added warranty, you are sure to get good use from the Medela Symphony Breast Pump and we can highly recommend this machine.

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