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 and Stuttgart/Monroe County-Brinkley/Lee County-Marianna/Phillips County-West Helena
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 and Wednesday
Monroe County: 870-734-1461, Tuesday: 1st and 3rd week
Lee County: 870-295-2400, Tuesday: 2nd and 4th week
Arkansas County-Stuttgart: 870-659-2086, Thursday
Arkansas County-Dewitt: 870-659-2056, Friday
Benton County - Rogers
Hello! I am a mom of five; three bonus kiddos and two awesome little boys who both had very different but successful breastfeeding journeys. Despite the different challenges we faced, both breastfed until they were eighteen months old. I love the health benefits and bonding time breastfeeding has given us and am excited to help other moms find the path that leads them to their successful breastfeeding journey!
Benton County: 479-986-1300
Monday - Friday
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
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
Poinsett County: 870-358-3615 Wednesday
Desha County – Dumas and McGehee/Chicot County-Lake Village
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 and Wednesday, 2nd and 4th Thursday
Desha County - McGhee: 870-222-3910
1st and 3rd Thursday
Chicot County: 870-265-2236
1st and 3rd Tuesday
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
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 31 years and 30 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
Lawrence County: 870-886-3201
Tuesday, Thursday, and 1st and 3rd Friday
Craighead County: 870-933-4585
2nd and 4th Friday
Independence County – Batesville
“I’ve been blessed with three beautiful children and have had many highs and lows with each feeding journey. I feel with these experiences, I’m able to offer real mom-to-mom support through the stages of each breastfeeding relationship. I have the tools to help you succeed and reach your own personal goals. I am a listening ear. I want every mom to feel this deep attachment that lasts long after weaning.”
Taylor Tosh, CLC
Independence County: 870-793-8847
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, Tuesday, and Thursday
Pulaski County-North Little Rock: 501-791-8551
“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, Wednesday, and Friday
Mississippi County-Blytheville: 870-763-7064
Tuesday and Thursday
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
Pulaski County - Little Rock
"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
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
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
White County - Searcy
I am a mom of 3 wonderful children. I breastfed all of them and had very different experiences with each one. Being a Mexican-American mother has its different cultural beliefs, and that made my breastfeeding journey difficult at times. Now that I am learning more about breastfeeding, I wish that I had had this information when I was a new breastfeeding mother. It would have been great to have a support system available and the information as well. As a breastfeeding peer counselor, I want to give that support and be an asset to the Spanish community as well as to any other mothers who need guidance when trying to breastfeed. As the days go by, I am learning more and loving every new experience on this journey as a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor.
White County-Searcy: 501-268-6102
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