Becoming a Mother for the first time is an overwhelming experience. You are so full of excitement and love for this new little life that you are carrying. There is no better feeling. However, this time is not always sunshine and daisies – it can be a time full of worry as well.
One of the big points of worry for a new Mom revolves around the choice of baby items that you are now in need of. Things like onesies, muslin wraps, baby creams, the list goes on and on. Some things new moms have never even heard of or have never had the need to be in the know about. One of those things is a breast pump.
The origins of the breast pump
The breast pump is not a new invention. In fact, it dates all the way back to the 1800’s. Invented by Orwell H. Needham in 1854, his original design for the breast pump worked to stimulate the breast milk by placing a cone shaped cup with an attached pump over the nipple to create suction when used.
Needham was inspired by the cow milking inventions of the time and used a very similar design within his breast pump.
This design was seemingly unchanged for many years until electric breast pumps were invented in the 1980s for use within hospitals.
It was not until the 1990s that the first home use electric breast pump was invented by the Swiss company Medela, who are still recognised as one of the leading brands of breast pumps today.
This was an important revelation for breastfeeding mothers, as many women began entering the workforce in more meaningful ways during this time.
With better access to a breast pump, this meant that mothers did not have to give up their breastfeeding bond with their baby and were empowered to act as both mothers and workers in a changing world.
Why is a breast pump necessary for new mothers?
Not all new mothers will need a breast pump, and no one can tell you whether or not you will need one. Many mothers may choose to buy their pump in advance, particularly if they know that they are going back to work, or know that they will be away from their baby for extended periods of time.
Breast pumps allow mothers to express their milk in advance to store in either the refrigerator or freezer (always make sure you date and label your milk!) to use at a later date. For mothers who are planning to bottle feed, then you may not need a breast pump at all.
There are many reasons why a breast pump is a great tool to have if you plan on breastfeeding. These can include (but are not limited to):
- Mothers returning to work
- Mothers who produce too much breastmilk
- To allow the mother’s significant other to feed the baby
- To teach the baby to take a bottle
- For babies attending day care or other child-minding situations whilst they are still receiving breastmilk
- To relieve a mother’s engorged or clogged milk ducts
- For mothers with mastitis
Breast pumps can be your best friend as a new mom, but it is important to know which is the best pump for you, and how to use it.
With countless different models on the market, one of the most reputable companies in the breastfeeding world is Medela.
In this article we will guide you through these two different grade breast pumps and lay out the various pros and cons of each one of them to help you decide which one is the breast pump for you and your precious baby’s breastfeeding journey together.
Main differences between the Symphony and Pump in Style
Before we begin to explore the differences between the Medela Symphony and the Pump in Style breast pumps, we must look at the main similarity between the two.
This is an essential feature to both breast pumps as it allows the mothers body to be stimulated in a way that mimics their baby thus releasing a natural reaction to the pump. Unlike hand-held breast pumps and pumps of other brands, both Medela pumps work through two phases:
- The stimulation phase: Here the pump mimics a baby’s initial reaction to the breast, with light and rapid suction that stimulates the breasts to begin producing milk
- The expression phase: Once the mother’s breast has been stimulated, they begin to produce what is known as a “let-down”. During this let-down, the breasts produce higher quantities of milk, meaning the suck settles to deep and slow suction.
These two phases allow the mothers body to produce a great deal more milk than other breast pumps, as the body thinks that it is feeding a baby, rather than being stimulated by a breast pump. This makes expressing milk a much faster and less stressful experience for new mothers.
Open vs. closed system
You might hear the terms “open system” and “closed system” floating around in your breast pump search, but what do these terms really mean for you as a pumping mother?
Essentially, the “system” refers to the pump as a whole and whether or not there is a milk separation between the pump itself and your expressed milk.
A breast pump with a closed system such as the Medela Symphony has a small barrier that prevents the possibility of your expressed milk from overflowing into the pump itself which can be extremely difficult to clean and ensure that the spilled milk is completely gone.
This is really important for future pumps as the old milk may contaminate the new milk which can in some situations be harmful for your baby.
A breast pump with an open system such as the Pump in Style does not have this barrier protecting the pump from overflowed milk. This means that the pump should be used for personal use only and cannot be hired or sold upon completion of its use. While this is true, the actual chance of cross-contamination is extremely unlikely ensuring that you clean your system after each use, just as you would with a closed system, meaning mothers should not be too concerned about this aspect of their pumps.
To clean both an open and a closed system breast pump, it is essential to pull your system apart after use to clean it. All this really means is that you have to remove the breast pump accessories from the kit including the tubing and membranes.
Take the time to rinse each tube using warm, soapy water followed by a thorough wash with clean water to remove all soap left within the system. Ensure that everything is completely dry before next use of the breast pump.
Medela Symphony: Overview
The Medela Symphony is a hospital grade, FDA approved multi-user breast pump that allows new mothers to express their milk through their patented 2-Phase Expression technology. It uses a closed system which is really important to reduce the possibility of cross-contamination, making it the best choice to multi-use within a hospital.
When purchasing or hiring the Medela Symphony, buyers will receive the pump only. In order to begin using the Medela Symphony, mothers will need to first purchase the Medela pumping kit. This kit includes all essential items such as the tubing, the breast shields, bottles with lids, valves, membranes, membrane caps and an instructional guide. Unlike the Medela Symphony itself, which is durable and long lasting, these kits may need to be replaced regularly, depending on the amount of use they receive.
- Reduces pumping time considerably
- Available in double or single pump
- Great durability
- Great suction capabilities
- Based on clinical research
- 2-Phase Expression technology
- Hospital grade
- Can be hired
- Closed pump system
- User friendly
- Expensive to purchase outright
- Difficult to move around as it is quite heavy
- Must be plugged in to an electrical outlet to be used
- Noise factor: High
- Additional purchases of equipment are required
Pump in Style: Overview
The Pump in Style is a personal use breast pump that allows new mothers to express their milk through the Medela patented 2-Phase Expression technology. It uses an open system which means users must stay vigilant in ensuring their pump is thoroughly cleaned after each use.
When purchasing the Medela Pump in Style, buyers will receive both the pump and all the necessary equipment within their initial purchase. Included in the purchase are all the essential items such as the tubing, the breast shields, bottles with lids, valves, membranes, membrane caps and an instructional guide. The Pump in Style also comes with a travel cooler bag, making it easy to pump on the go. Unlike the Medela Pump in Style itself, which is durable and long lasting, these kits may need to be replaced regularly, depending on the amount of use they receive.
- Fantastic travel system, with a travel bag, cooler bag and multiple methods of charging
- Noise factor: Moderate
- Good suction capabilities
- Good durability
- 2-Phase Expression technology
- User friendly
- Available in double or single pump
- All accessories are included in the initial purchase
- Open system pump
- Extensive cleaning needed to prevent mold or cross-contamination
- Less suction and thus milk production as a personal use system
Symphony vs Pump in Style: The Final Veridict
As we mentioned earlier, the only person who can decide if you need a breast pump is you. Similarly, you are the only person who knows what type of breast pump is right for you. Let us revisit the main points of difference between Medela Symphony and the Medela Pump in Style side by side.
|Medela Symphony (Check Price on Amazon)
|Pump in Style (Check Price on Amazon)
|Electric power source only
|Portable power source
|Pump only, accessories sold separately
|Pump and accessories included
|Can be hired or sold
|For a single user only
Basically, If you are looking for a pump that allows long-term and frequent pumping using a hospital grade pump, or a pump that will allow your milk supply to be heavy and constant, then the Medela Symphony might be the right choice for you. Buy Medela Symphony Here.
I rented the Medela Symphony for a couple of months when I was breastfeeding our first daugther. Sure, it did feel great and very reliable but I bought the Pump in Style instead, since it does offer better value and it is much better for mobility.
So, If you are a little bit more budget conscious and need a breast pump on fewer occasions, or maybe you would like a breast pump that you can travel with, then the Pump in Style might be the perfect choice for you. Buy Pump in Style Here.
It is important for you as a mother to do whatever works best for you. Regardless of your choice between the Medela Symphony and the Medela Pump in Style, you can rest assured that your breast pump is coming from a long lasting and reputable company.
There are countless guides and forums to help you on your breastfeeding and pumping journey that will help you make the most out of either your Medela Symphony or your Medela Pump in Style, so know that whatever your choice, you will have access to the support you may need as a new mother.
And since you made it this far, check these other posts that you might find interesting: