Michelle L. Leff, MD, FAAP

Email: mleff@ucsd.edu

Clinic Information

Administrative Assistant: 858-249-1703

Michelle L. Leff, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician who specializes in the care of newborns. As a newborn hospitalist, she meets with parents and their babies during their postpartum stay in the hospital, providing daily care to infants. This care includes newborn examinations, screening tests and breastfeeding help, including frenotomies.  Dr. Leff also provides family-centered newborn care, such as education and discharge planning within the postpartum unit. She enjoys helping new mothers and fathers transition into parenthood, and the ability to work with families to achieve optimal health for their infants. Her areas of expertise include breastfeeding, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and car seat safety. Dr. Leff sees children of all ages at the UCSD Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine clinic in La Jolla on Monday mornings.

As an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Leff instructs medical students, pediatric and family medicine residents and neonatology fellows on newborn care. She has authored numerous abstracts and presented on topics such as vaccines for newborns and their families and the incidence of formula supplementation in breastfeeding newborns. 

Dr. Leff completed her residency at UC San Diego School of Medicine and earned her medical degree from University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. She is board certified in general pediatrics. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and member of the American Pediatric Association. Dr. Leff is also a founding member of the Academic Pediatric Association's BORN (Better Outcomes through Research for Newborns) Network and Medical Director of UC San Diego Medical Center's Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.  In 2013, Dr. Leff received the American Academy of Pediatrics Special Achievement Award.


  • Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry, Minor in Spanish, Gonzaga University
  • Medical Education: University of Washington School of Medicine
  • Residency Training: 
    • Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego  
    • Chief Residency, Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego
  • Special Certifications:
    • Board Certified, General Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics

Areas of Interest

  • Breastfeeding
  • Child Passenger Safety
  • Newborn Care
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Selected Publications 

  • Yeung H, Leff M, Rhee K. Effect of Exclusive Breastfeeding Among Overweight and Obese Mothers on Infant Weight-for-Length Percentile at 1 Year. Breastfeeding Medicine. 2017;12(1):39-47.
  • Leff M. Nasal Dermoid Sinus. Consultant for Pediatricians. 2016;15(12):617-618.
  • Leff M, Robbins S. Congenital Cataracts. Consultant for Pediatricians. 2015;14:574-576.
  • Leff M, Hubbard T. Genu Recurvatum. Consultant for Pediatricians. 2014;13:523.
  • Linebarger JS and Roy ML. Common Nuclear Medicine Studies in Pediatrics. Pediatrics in Review. 2007;28:415-417.

Selected Presentations:

  • Leff M. “Working with Pediatricians and the AAP,” Southern CA Head Start Health Cluster Meeting, July 2016.
  • Leff M. “Updates in Newborn Medicine,” 8th Annual Tri-City Medical Center Perinatal Symposium, April 2016.
  • O’Brien C, Hoh E, Quintana P, Mackintosh S, Leff M, Chambers C, Hovell M.  Breast Milk Contamination and Seafood Consumption of Breastfeeding Mothers in San Diego County.  Presented at: Ther American Public Health Association 143rd Annual Meeting and Expo; October 31-November 4, 2015; Chicago, Illinois.  Abstract 334214.
  • O’Brien C, Hoh E, Quintana P, Mackintosh S, Leff M, Merchant K, Chambers C, Hovell M.  Halogenated Organic Contaminants in Breast Milk Samples from San Diego, CA.  Presented at: The International Society of Exposure Science 25th Annual Meeting; October 18-22, 2015; Henderson, Nevada. Abstract 2261030.
  • Gal D, Leff M, Boies E, LaCoursiere D. Breastfeeding Success and Breast Anatomy in Obese Women.  Presented at: The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine 20th Annual International Conference; October 15-18, 2015; Los Angeles, California. Published online: Breastfeeding Medicine. September 2015,10(S1):S-7. doi:10.1089/bfm.2015.29009.abstracts.


  • Instruction of Pediatric Residents, Medicine/Pediatric Residents, Family Medicine Residents, and Neonatology Fellows, UCSD Newborn Service, 08/2007 – Present
  • Peds 401 Instructor, 08/2007 – Present
  • Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) Preceptor, 05/2011
  • Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) Instructor, 04/2010 – 05/2011
  • In-service to UCSD Family Medicine Faculty on Newborn Issues, 3/2010


  • Chair, UCSD School of Medicine Associated Health Professions Education Committee, 2014-present


  • Medical Director, UCSD  Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, 7/2017-present
  • Child Care Contact/Early Childhood Champion, AAP California Chapter 3, 4/2015-present