Meet Our Breastfeeding Peer Counselors
Each Peer Counselor has an office in the local health unit in the county where she is assigned. Some Peer Counselors spend part of their time in a local hospital.
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! My children are now ages 21, 20, 18, and 16. I have 3 grandchildren, and 2 more on the way. 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
Craighead County - Jonesboro
Hi! My name is Amirah Koster. I am a mother of two boys, ages 5-years and 15-months. My experience with breastfeeding was completely different with each boy. With my first, I lacked breastfeeding support and really knew very little to help me be successful. So during my next pregnancy, I reached out to my WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor. She informed me of the benefits of breastfeeding and helped me overcome many difficult challenges. I experienced everything from poor latch due to a tongue and lip tie; to exclusively pumping for 3 months; to plugged ducts; and then to successfully bringing my son back to exclusively feeding from the breast at 3 months old! I continue to successfully breastfeed and hope to be as helpful to other moms as my WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor was to me! I am thankful to have this new role and know it will be rewarding to give moms support.
Craighead County-Jonesboro: 870-933-4585
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Cathy’s mission is to encourage expecting moms to make informative 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. She states “I’ll be more than happy to assist with any Spanish translations.” Monthly “Loving Support makes Breastfeeding Work” classes are available at the Crittenden County –West Memphis Health Unit the 3rd Wednesday of every month.
Cathy (Maria) Durham
Crittenden County (West Memphis): 870-735-4334
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 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.
Faulkner County-Conway: 501-450-4941
Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Garland County – Hot Springs
Trenise says “It’s ok as a mom not to know everything. We learn as we grow, and we all want what’s best for our babies. I love learning, educating, sharing, and teaching other women how amazing breastfeeding can be for both mother and baby. From my experience with breastfeeding my babies; there isn’t anything that can ever compare. What excites me about being a breastfeeding peer counselor is being able to relate and help other mothers because I’ve been there also. It’s easier to relate when someone has shared the same experience as you.” Trenise is a Certified Lactation Counselor.
Garland County: 501-624-3394
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Greene County – Paragould/Lawrence County – Walnut Ridge
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.
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.
Independence County: 870-793-8847
Monday - Friday 8 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 22 years and continues to love to help moms and babies. “Breastfeeding is the natural and best way to feed your baby, but it’s seldom very “easy.” 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
“Hi! My name is Brooklyn Bourland. I have two little girls, Della and Finleigh, who were both breastfed. My journey with breastfeeding hasn’t always been easy. At times, I felt like I was on a rollercoaster, but am proud to say that that did not stop me! With my first daughter, I had no clue about breastfeeding, except for what I had read online and on my pregnancy app. No one in my family had ever breastfed. I was the first, and I was determined to succeed! Both my daughters became jaundice, and I was quickly told to give formula instead of breastfeeding. Family members weren’t very supportive either, and encouraged me to give formula too. I pushed through and breastfed anyway! 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 - West Helena: 870-572-9028
Monday-Friday, 9am - 3pm
Pulaski County - Little Rock
“I am a 'boy mom'. I have four sons, so let’s just say there is never a dull moment in the Reed house. Three of my children have been breastfed. My youngest is 14 months and continues to breastfeed. Each breastfeeding experience has been unique. I love to describe breastfeeding as an adventure because that is exactly what it has been. Of course, you gather all the knowledge and resources you think you’ll need, but until the adventure begins, you have no idea how it will go. There are ups and downs, good days and not-so-good days, but, at the end of each adventure, I thought it was worth it. I am so happy and honored to help other mothers with their breastfeeding adventures. Motherhood is not meant to be done alone. It is a time for you to let your village surround you, and I would love to be a part of your village! Support is better than having no support. My goal is to support and encourage mothers during their adventure, no matter how it looks. Breastfeeding is like learning to ride a bike. No one simply hops on and rides off into the sunset. It’s a learning experience for both mothers and their babies.”
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!"
Pulaski County-West Little Rock WIC Clinic: 501-224-1254
Monday - Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Pulaski County - Southwest Little Rock
“It’s okay to ask questions! As women, we naturally want what’s best for our babies. They don’t come with instruction manuals so most of us have lots of questions when they arrive. As a mother who breastfeeds, I have a deep passion for helping moms like you get support and assistance with any and all questions as you take your breastfeeding journey. I have a place in my heart for you because I am just like you! I am the mother of three. I have a daughter, whom I breastfed for almost 18 months, and a 4 year old son and 15 month old daughter, both of whom I am currently breastfeeding. I am ready, eager, and able to help you!" Sarita invites you to her group: Mom-to-Mom, Let’s talk about milk…at the Pulaski County-SW Health Unit, 8901 Dailey Drive, Little Rock, AR 72209. Mom-to-Mom meets every 3rd Friday from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. Please call to confirm attendance. Sarita is a Certified Lactation Counselor.
Sarita Hendrix, CLC
Pulaski County Southwest Clinic: 501-565-9311
Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saline County - Benton
“I have three daughters who are now ages 13, 5, and 2. Each of them were breastfed, and I learned, from personal experience, that a little support can make a big difference on your breastfeeding journey. I did not have the support or knowledge I needed when I breastfed my first child, so breastfeeding did not last as long as with my last two daughters. I was lucky to have found support and encouragement when breastfeeding them, so the journey lasted 16 months with my second daughter and 18 months with my third! I want to be able to give other moms the support and encouragement needed to have the confidence to breastfeed. You will never need luck to come see me! I want all moms to have a connection with their babies. Whether you are just starting your breastfeeding journey or overcoming challenges that sometimes happen along the way, I’m here to help! Never hesitate to reach out!”
Saline County-Benton: 501-303-5650
Monday-Friday, 8am to 3pm
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, CLE
WIC Breastfeeding Helpline: 1-800-445-6175
Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.