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.

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

“I nursed both of my children, and overcame quite a few challenges throughout that time. I am still nursing my 4 year old daughter, and have grown to want to share that passion with other mothers. Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing. The bond between you and your child is the most amazing feeling, but it can be so hard. I think having a good support system is one of the most important steps in getting breastfeeding off to a great start. I am so excited I am able to be part of that support system.”  Michelle invites you to join her breastfeeding mother’s club that meets at 2 p.m. the third Thursday of every month at Northeast Arkansas Baptist Hospital in Jonesboro. Michelle is a Certified Lactation Counselor.

picture of Michelle Mansker     Michelle Mansker, CLC
     Craighead County: 870-933-4585
     Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.




Crittenden County – West Memphis

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.


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




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.




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 




Pulaski County - Little Rock

“We are all faced with obstacles. Don’t let breastfeeding be one! I am a mother of five and successfully breastfed three.” Once faced with the obstacle of not being able to latch her currently breastfed premature baby, Shauna made it her mission to help mothers overcome any obstacles they may have when it comes to breastfeeding. The story that she has to share with mothers is that even if it is not your first choice to breastfeed, you can still make it your last choice! “Peer Counselors are moms just like you, waiting to help. Get ready to begin our journey to a happy, healthy baby!”

Shauna Conic

Pulaski County Central Health Unit:  501-280-3115
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, CLC (no photo available)

Pulaski County-North Little Rock: 501-791-8554
Monday and Wednesday, 8am to 4:30pm


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.




Saline County - Benton
Grant County - Sheridan

“I’m a mother to three children, two of whom were breastfed. My oldest child has special needs that made nursing difficult. I’ve experienced the “mom guilt” that comes with not breastfeeding. It can be a hard burden to bear. I really feel that a strong support system is so important for all mothers. I hope to help mothers reach their breastfeeding goals! Most importantly, I want every mom to feel confident in their role as a parent.”

Melissa JacksonMelissa Jackson
Saline County: 501-303-5650
Monday - Thursday, 8am to 3pm
Grant County: 870-942-3157
Friday, 8am to 3pm


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 Martin, CLC
     Van Buren County:  501-745-2485
     Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.







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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