Meet Our Breastfeeding Peer Counselors
Each Peer Counselor has an office in the local health unit in the county where she is assigned.
Arkansas County - DeWitt
“I have 4 children. I delivered them all with a midwife at home and breastfed all of them. I always thought that having a job helping others learn the joys and benefits of breastfeeding would be my dream job, although I wasn’t aware it existed. I am so happy to have this opportunity! I also have 9 grandchildren. I want to help moms overcome any fears or difficulties they may have and be there for them. Breastmilk is a miracle, and I want to spread the news and help moms and babies reap the benefits!”
Arkansas County - DeWitt: 870-946-2934
Monday-Friday, 9am - 3pm
Boone County – Harrison
“I breastfed my first three babies before I started working as a peer counselor. Tandem nursing babies 4 and 5 has further increased my love and passion to help all mothers. I truly desire to help mothers breastfeed their babies. I love to share my experiences with parents in hopes that I can help them see that they are not the only ones. From going to college, working full time, you name it; I want to help you overcome any road bumps that come across your path to success. Always remember that if I don’t know the answer, I will find it for you!” Starla is a Certified Lactation Counselor.
Starla Carter, CLC
Boone County: 870-743-5244
Carroll County: 870-423-2923
Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m
Crittenden County - West Memphis/Poinsett County – Marked Tree
Cathy’s mission is to encourage expecting moms to make informed decisions about breastfeeding and support breastfeeding moms in her community. Originally born in Venezuela, Spanish is Cathy’s first language. She moved to the US in the 1980s. “I’m more than happy to assist both Spanish and English-speaking Moms.
Cathy (Maria) Durham
Crittenden County (West Memphis): 870-735-4334
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Poinsett County (Marked Tree): 870-358-3615
Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Desha County – Dumas and McGehee
Originally hired by the Arkansas Breastfeeding Coalition as a “Say Yes to Best” Peer Counselor, Kathy says, “It is important for mothers to be able to give their baby a good start in life, and that is with breastfeeding.” Kathy became a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor for WIC in June 2016. Kathy is a Certified Lactation Counselor.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Desha County-McGehee: 870-222-3910
Wednesday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Faulkner County - Conway
I am a mother of 3 and I was able to successfully breastfeed all 3. Along with other mothers, I did also have struggles as well as triumphs during my breastfeeding journey. My goal as a mother as well as a breastfeeding peer counselor is to help other mothers to have a successful and enjoyable breastfeeding experience as well. The bond is truly unexplainable and I hope to help other mothers have the experience with their children. And to be a support system for these mothers because you truly cannot ever have too many supporters.
Cassandra Bailey-Tackett, CLC
Faulkner County-Conway: 501-450-4941
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Greene County – Paragould/Lawrence County – Walnut Ridge/Craighead County – Jonesboro
Trained with the very first group of WIC Peer Counselors in the state, Leisa has a passion for helping moms. She has been with ADH for 20 years and 19 of those years have been as a peer counselor. “As a mom of three boys, I know that all babies are different, so I am very aware of this when I listen to each mom and her situation.” Leisa is a Certified Lactation Counselor.
Monday and Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Lawrence County: 870-886-3201
Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Craighead County: 870-933-4585
2nd and 4th Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Independence County – Batesville
“I am a mother of two little boys, Brody and Finn. I got off to a rough start breastfeeding Brody and ended up exclusively pumping for six months. Very soon after, I became pregnant with my second. In those months before I gave birth, I did LOTS of research on how to successfully breastfeed. I went in with knowledge and a strong birth plan. I was determined to have that “magical experience” and I DID! I nursed Finn for 21 months until he self-weaned. I went through many trials and tribulations both times though. I used nipple shields, had sore nipples and plugged ducts, and was hospitalized for mastitis. I look back on it all as a learning experience and believe I can help new mothers because I have been there! I hope to bring awareness to my community, support new mothers on their exciting new adventure, and share knowledge and personal experience. Ultimately, I hope to help mothers feel that same intimate bond with their children that I felt with my own. I really do believe there is nothing more important and feel so honored to have such a rewarding job.” Taylor spends part of her day at White River Medical Center.
Taylor Tosh, CLC
Independence County: 870-793-8847
Monday and Wednesday, 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Lonoke County - Cabot
When asked, the first thing Kim Helmbeck will say about her job is, “I love what I do!”. She has been a breastfeeding peer counselor with ADH for 26 years and continues to love to help moms and babies. “Breastfeeding is a natural thing, but it’s not always easy. That’s what I’m here for, to help make it easier. Every mother has questions at one time or another. Do not hesitate to get help as soon as possible.” Kim is a Certified Lactation Counselor.
Kim Helmbeck, CLC
Lonoke County-Cabot: 501-843-7561
Monday and Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Phillips County - West Helena/Monroe County - Brinkley
Hi! I am a mother of two sweet girls! There is nothing I love more than being a girl mom. My breastfeeding journey hasn’t always been easy. I started out clueless and scared with my first daughter. I was the first in my family to breastfeed. But, from the start, I immediately became passionate about breastfeeding and was determined to succeed. Breastfeeding is a learning process for you and your baby. I loved the way I bonded with my girls through breastfeeding. I loved that I was the only person that could do this for my girls. I want to use my experience to encourage moms when they feel like they have no support. I want to be there to help them push through when they feel like giving up. I am excited to be able to support and empower moms on their breastfeeding journey.
Phillips County: 870-572-9028
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Monroe County: 870-734-1461
2nd and 4th Tuesday, 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Pulaski County - Little Rock
I am a mother of four beautiful children. I have successfully breastfed all four of them, but not without challenges along the way. With my first two children I did not have the supportive environment I needed to thrive as a breastfeeding mother. With my last two children I had immense support that truly changed my experience. My goal as a WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor is to provide the integral support mothers need to thrive on their breastfeeding journey – no matter the challenges. I am truly honored and humbled to have this rewarding career in which I get to help mothers feel empowered and successful on one of the most sacred experiences in motherhood.
Pulaski County - Little Rock: 501-280-3100
Monday-Friday, 8am to 4:30pm
Pulaski County - West Little Rock - WIC Clinic
"I have two children, both of whom were breastfed. Like many mothers, we had our highs and lows while breastfeeding. I hope to help other moms overcome their own challenges they may face with breastfeeding, and support them so they get off to the best start possible!"
Amy Robertson, CLC
Pulaski County-West Little Rock WIC Clinic: 501-224-1254
Monday - Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
St. Francis County - Forrest City
“Hi. I am a mom of 6, and I had a different breastfeeding experience with each one. Breastfeeding wasn’t successful with my first child because I didn’t know much about breastfeeding and I had no support. Enrolling in pregnancy classes when pregnant with my second child and learning about breastfeeding taught me so much! The instructor even came to my home, helped latch my baby, and encouraged me to keep it up. I breastfed a few months! My third child was delivered by a doula and was breastfed. I began breastfeeding my fourth child, but when I returned to work, I did not know how to balance breastfeeding and work, so breastfeeding was cut short. When my fifth child was born, I decided that no matter what, I was only going to breastfeed! The Breastfeeding Peer Counselor at my local WIC office helped me when I became discouraged with breastfeeding, and this kept me from giving up. This time, I had learned about my rights to privacy and pumping milk when at work. I breastfed for 18 months! Pregnancy complications happened with my sixth child, but because the hospital offered skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth, she latched perfectly! I began to enjoy breastfeeding so much that I attended a breastfeeding support group, encouraged any pregnant family members or friends to breastfeed, and decided to ask the Health Department if they were hiring any more Breastfeeding Peer Counselors. They were! Now, I have a job that encourages me to encourage women to breastfeed and help them with all their challenges!”
St. Francis County-Forrest City: 870-663-1340
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 9am to 4:30pm
Van Buren County – Clinton
“I have breastfed all three of my children and experienced challenges along the way. I enjoy using my experience to help moms overcome their own breastfeeding barriers and reach their personal breastfeeding goals.” Vanessa is a Certified Lactation Counselor.
Vanessa Breedlove, CLC
Van Buren County: 501-745-2485
Monday – Thursday, 8am – 4pm
“I am a mother of four. I started my breastfeeding journey at the age of nineteen. I had zero knowledge of what was going on, and in that day and age, breastfeeding was not pushed. Although breastfeeding was very challenging as a first time mother, I began to read and find out ways to properly nurse my baby. Now, I am very honored to have gone through this three more times! It was a rough start with my first baby, but now breastfeeding is a total breeze! The best years of my life have been nursing and bonding with each of my children through breastfeeding. I hope to bring breastfeeding knowledge and my own personal experiences to the table with any mother seeking breastfeeding help. I want to help my community, so I am very honored to have been chosen to be a Peer Counselor!”
Mississippi County-Osceola: 870-563-2521
Monday-Friday 8am - 4:30pm
WIC Breastfeeding Helpline
When you call the helpline you will be speaking with Sandy. She has been helping new mothers with breastfeeding since 1993. Please give her a call.
Sandy Bankson, IBCLC
WIC Breastfeeding Helpline: 1-800-445-6175
Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.