Healthy Communities

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!”

   Kristen Brickey
   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.

picture of Starla Carter     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.

     Amirah Koster
     Craighead County-Jonesboro: 870-933-4585
     Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.





Crittenden County

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.

picture of Cathy Durham    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. 

picture of Kathy James     Kathy James, CLC
     Desha County-Dumas: 870-382-2377
     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     Cassandra Bailey-Tackett
     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.

picture of Trenise E.     Trenise E.,CLC
     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.

picture of Leisa Huskey     Leisa Huskey, CLC
     Greene County: 870-236-7782
     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. 

picture of Taylor Tosh     Taylor Tosh
     Independence County: 870-793-8847
     Monday - Friday 8 a.m.-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.”

   Brooklyn Bourlard
   Phillips County - West Helena: 870-572-9028
   Monday-Friday, 9am - 3pm





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    Amy Robertson
    Pulaski County-West Little Rock WIC Clinic: 501-224-1254
    Monday - Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.





Pulaski County - North Little Rock

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    Kim Helmbeck, CLC
    Pulaski County-North Little Rock: 501-791-8554
    Monday and Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 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. 

picture of Sarita Hendrix     Sarita Hendrix, CLC
     Pulaski County Southwest Clinic: 501-565-9311
     Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.




St. Francis County



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.

picture of Vanessa Martin     Vanessa Breedlove, CLC
     Van Buren County: 501-745-2485
     Monday – Thursday, 8am – 4pm







Lonoke County - Cabot and Lonoke

“I breastfed my baby boy for 14 months, and it was the most rewarding yet challenging thing I have ever experienced. I was determined to breastfeed throughout my pregnancy. I did my research, attended breastfeeding classes, and had my birth plan. When it came time to deliver my son, nothing went according to plan. We went through a traumatic labor and delivery experience, struggled with a lip tie, latching and supply issues, numerous episodes of mastitis, exhaustion, and severe postpartum depression. Instead of giving up or getting discouraged, I pushed through and allowed my experience to give me the fuel to empower other women through their struggles of becoming a new mom. I never had a lactation consultant or peer counselor which I know would have benefited me tremendously. All I needed was someone to tell me “this is normal,” and that is what I hope to do for other moms. I am excited to be able to encourage and support mommies and babies to embrace the most beautiful and natural thing you can do in life!”

Brooke Brumley

     Brooke Brumley
     Lonoke County-Cabot:  501-843-7561
     Monday, Wednesday, & Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm
     Lonoke County-Lonoke:  501-676-2268
     Last Wednesday of each month, 8:30am – 4:30pm



Mississippi County-Osceola

“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!”

Tiffany Martin     Tiffany Martin
     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.

picture of Sandy Bankson     Sandy Bankson, IBCLC, CLE
     WIC Breastfeeding Helpline: 1-800-445-6175
     Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.



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Arkansas Department of Health
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