Medela Symphony vs Medela Pump In Style – A Buyer’s Guide

Being a new mother is an exciting experience. There are many items that need to be purchased in order to take care of yourself and your child. There are baby wipes, diaper cream, cribs, changing tables, and so much more. 

One item that you may not even think of at first is a breast pump. If you’re breastfeeding or using breast milk and putting it in a bottle, you’ll need one of these devices. There are times where the baby may not latch and you will have to use the pump. 

There are a variety of pumps on the market, from large to small, cheap to expensive. They all serve the same purpose, but others have more features and feel more comfortable than others. We highly suggest the Medela Pump in Style as the best choice because it’s more affordable, comes with everything you need to get started, and best for home and portable use. 

The History Of The Breast Pump

Breast pumps have been around since the 1800s. It was the invention of Orwell H. Needham in 1854. He found inspiration through the milking of cows and the methods that were being used. He took those designs and methods and created a device that stimulated the breast milk by placing cone-shaped cups over the nipples to create suction for milk extraction. 

Manual breast pump

The design went unaltered until the 1980’s when electric pumps were invented for hospital use. In the 1990s, the first home-use electric breast pumps were created by Medela, a Swiss company. They are still one of the leading brands of breast pumps.

The Differences Between The Medela Symphony vs Pump In Style

Before we get down to it and explain the differences between the Medela Symphony and the Pump in Style, let’s take a look at what each one has to offer. 

Two-Phase Expression Technology

Both the Symphony and Pump in Style offer the two-phase technology trademark. This means that once the pump is turned on, let-down mode is activated and the breasts are stimulated. This phase will prepare the breast for maximum milk expression. 

After two minutes, the pump will then activate the second phase automatically. This is the expression mode and the milk will then be extracted into the containers. This technology allows milk production to occur more efficiently and quickly. It imitates your baby’s natural nursing rhythm and leads to more adequate results. 

Open & Closed Systems

One of the major differences between the Symphony and the Pump in Style is that the Symphony is a closed system and the Pump in Style is an open system. The closed system ensures that no bacteria can enter the system. It does this by using two pistons to create suction that moves up and down.

Air is then circulated through the machine by a sucking motion. This makes it ideal for multiple users. You don’t have to worry about condensation, mold, or milk particles being left behind. 

On the other hand, the Pump in Style uses an open system. It may result in better diction, but milk particles can access the tubes, which can then lead to mold buildup if the tubes aren’t cleaned properly. You may need to replace the tubes on a regular basis to ensure there’s no contamination. You can also run the pump after detaching the tubes for a minute or so to clear any condensation. 

Powerful Suction

Since the Medela Symphony is hospital-grade, it provides better suction than a personal use breast pump like the Pump in Style. This is because the device is equipped with a larger internal pump. The Symphony has exceptional suction power, which is why mothers who are using it to build up or increase their supply recommend this model. 

The Pump in Style, on the other hand, doesn’t have as much suction power as the Symphony, but it’s still quite effective when it comes to emptying your breastmilk. It’s going to take a little longer than the Symphony, but it’s still an effective device. 

Single & Double Pumping

Both the Medela Symphony and the Pump-in Style can be used on one or both breasts at once. You can choose to express milk from just one side by simply detaching the second collection unit from the other breast. 


In terms of price, we can say for certain that the Symphony is more costly than then Pump in Style. Sure, the Symphony has better suction and no possibility of cross-contamination, but it doesn’t come with anything more than the pump itself. There are no accessories that come with it. When you are done using the pump, you can resell it due to its closed system. As for the Pump in Style, you receive a travel bag, cooler, tubes, and cups for just a fraction of the price. You can’t resell this device due to the possibility of contamination, but it’s still worth the price. 

Ease of Use

Both models are extremely user-friendly. They are simple to use as they don’t have a ton of buttons to press or complicated settings. The pumping kit for the Symphony can get a little tricky with the tubes and shields, but once that’s out of the way, you’re ready to go. 


There’s no denying the fact that breast pumps aren’t discrete. They’re definitely noisy and there’s nothing you can do about it. The Symphony is noisier than the Pump in Style since it has a larger pump in it. 

Cleaning The Pump

Be prepared to do some more work with the Pump in Style. Since it has the open system on it, you are going to need to clean it thoroughly to ensure there’s no milk contamination. You have to take off all of the tubes and shields and run them through cool, clean water. You can soak the tubes in warm, soapy water for a little while and then rinse them again, ensuring no soap is left behind. Once done, leave the tubes out to dry. 

breast pump

The Symphony is a closed system, which means it doesn’t need to be cleaned as thoroughly as the Pump in Style. You should still clean it by performing the same actions s you would with the Pump in Style just to be safe.

Medela Symphony – Pros & Cons 

The Medela Symphony is an FDA-approved, hospital-grade breast pump. It features a patent 2-phase expression technology and a closed system. The closed system is a feature that we really appreciate because it reduces any possibility of cross-contamination. Additionally, this breast pump is available in a double or single pump, has fantastic suction capabilities, it’s durable, and it can be rented out rather than purchased. 


  • Less time pumping
  • Durable
  • Excellent suction
  • Hospital-grade
  • Closed pump system
  • Can be rented out
  • Can be resold
  • Two-phase technology
  • Double or single pump action


  • Expensive 
  • Heavy
  • Needs the use of an electrical plug
  • Very noisy
  • Attachments need to be purchased separately

Medela Pump in Style – Pros & Cons 

The Pump in Style also has 2-phase technology, but it’s an open system, which means the pump has to be thoroughly cleaned after each use. It’s a great travel system, has good suction capabilities, is durable, can be a double or single pump, and there are multiple ways to charge it. 


  • Very affordable
  • Comes with additional accessories
  • Moderate noise
  • Decent suction
  • Two-phase technology
  • Double or single pump action
  • Durable


  • Open pump technology
  • Less suction 
  • Extensive cleaning needed
  • Can’t resell or rent out

Now, let’s really compare the two. 

Why Are They Needed?

A breast pump isn’t a “necessary” item to have and nobody can make you use one. Mothers who have already decided that they are going to use one tend to shop for them in advance, especially if they need to go back to work or know that they will be spending extended periods away from their newborns. Here are a few other reasons why mothers may want to invest in a breast pump: 

  • They may produce too much milk
  • To allow the other parent or guardian to feed the child
  • Teaching the baby to take a bottle
  • For babies who are in daycare or other places where they need to be fed without the mother
  • To help with engorged or clogged milk ducts
  • For mothers with mastitis


These pumps allow breastfeeding mothers to store their milk for use in the future. They can pump the milk and store it in bags or containers in the refrigerator or freezer. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days when unused and for up to 6-months in the freezer. Once the air has been exposed to the stored milk, it has to be used or discarded. 

Storing In The Refrigerator

When storing your breast milk in the refrigerator, there are a few guidelines to follow to ensure the milk stays safe to drink: 

  • Refrigerate as soon as possible after expressing.
  • Store in clean bottles or storage bags made from BPA-materials. 
  • Cool milk beforehand when adding it to previously refrigerated containers. Never add body-temperature milk to cool milk.
  • Store the milk in the coldest part of the refrigerator such as in the back or the shelf above the veggie compartment. Never keep on the door.

Storing In The Freezer

Here’s how to store breastmilk in the freezer: 

  • Freeze as soon as possible after expressing. 
  • You can add new milk to already frozen milk, but it has to be cooled beforehand. Never add body temperature milk to frozen milk. 
  • Store milk in small portions for easier thawing and less waste. 
  • Ensure the containers can be used in the freezer and won’t crack. 
  • Never fill more than ¾ of the way full as breastmilk expands when frozen. 
  • Store at the back of the freezer. 

Defrosting Breastmilk

To ensure breastmilk is properly thawed, follow these instructions: 

  • Defrost in the refrigerator for about 12-hours. 
  • Hold the bottle or bag under warm running water. 
  • Never leave to defrost at room temperature. 
  • Once thawed, it can be kept at room temperature for a maximum of two hours or in the refrigerators for up to 24 hours. 
  • Never thaw it in a microwave or in boiling water. 
  • Room temperature breastmilk should be fed to your child within two hours or thrown out. 
  • Never re-freeze the milk after being thawed. 

The Takeaway

So now that we’ve gone over what each product has and doesn’t have to offer, we hope that you have a better understanding of both units. After thoroughly researching the two, we are confident in our decision that the Medela Pump in Style is the better choice of the two, especially if you’re on a budget. 

If you’re overly concerned about the contamination factor and money isn’t an option, you may be better off with the Symphony.

However, you’ll need to shell out the extra dough for the tubes and cups. We don’t honestly think it’s worth it unless it’s absolutely, without a doubt, necessary. You may be interested in Ameda Vs Medela or Lansinoh Symphony Pro vs Medela Sonata

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