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Paging Dr. Mom with Julie La Barba, MD, FAAP

May 25, 2022



Girls who grew up in the 1950s Deep South had little to no cultural nudge to pursue a career in any field, let alone in medicine. This story of Dr. Susan Landers’ ability to catapult herself into the world of top-notch academic medicine while mothering 3 children amidst the twists and turns inherent in her physician husband’s own advancement is truly something to behold. Did I mention after moving cross country with three little ones, she also pioneered a grant funded Mother’s Milk Bank and eventually led the Section for Breastfeeding at the American Academy of Pediatrics? So Many Babies were lucky to have a doctor with so much grit.


Prominent themes in the daily lives of doctors and mothers are the themes of Susan Landers’ life: Teaching and Quality Improvement. And she dealt with complications in both. From navigating complex workplace issues beyond patient care to managing crises at home including accidents, behavioral issues, unfathomable nanny emergencies and the teenage years in general. Susan has seen more than her fair share, and So Many Babies is her love letter to any mother tackling medicine and motherhood together.


As she deftly navigated medicine and motherhood, I would argue Dr. Susan Landers is not “Good Enough Mom” as she had to sometimes convince herself, or even “Super Mom” as her husband and children dubbed her one Mother’s Day with a glittery homemade broach, but actually "Wonder Woman” complete with bullet proof arm cuffs, a golden lasso and that trulsty invisible jet we all used to want to ride in. Truly, Susan is a superheroine. Not only did she use her super powers to nutture her own 3 children at home, not to mention the countless tiny ones she healed in the NICU, but she shares them again today in So Many Babies as she reassures today’s Dr. Moms by revealing her own truths and vulnerability


From Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and self-imposed time-outs to sewing Halloween costumes and eventually sending herself monthly bouquets, Dr. Susan Landers offers today’s moms in medicine plenty of actionable ideas to ‘heal the healer’ as she explores the fine line between a complete devotion to her patients and the insidious way a medical career can overtake marriage and family life.


After completing medical school in Charleston, South Carolina, Susan moved to Texas and completed pediatrics residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, and neonatology fellowship at Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Dr.Landers practiced full-time neonatology (the intensive care of critically ill premature and newborn infants) for thirty-four years. Initially she worked in academic medicine, on the faculty of two medical schools, Baylor College of Medicine and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Later in her career, she worked for Mednax, a private neonatology practice in Austin, for twenty-two years. Susan raised three children while practicing medicine full-time. Her children presented her and her physician husband with many challenges over the years, trials and struggles which she considers typical for all working mothers. She wrote a book about her experiences: "So Many Babies: My Life Balancing a Busy Medical Career and  Motherhood." For many years, Susan worked for the American Academy of Pediatrics as an expert in breastfeeding medicine, writing policy and teaching at national conferences. She has been interviewed by many news outlets about her work using donor human milk in the NICU and her work with the Mother's Milk Bank of Austin. She currently resides in Austin, TX.