How to Make Money on Maternity Leave: 27 Real Ways

Want to learn how to make money on maternity leave? Parental leave can be a time of joy and excitement with a new baby around, but it can also mean money stress for parents. While you spend time taking care of your newborn, you may also need to find ways to make extra money to…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: January 10, 2024

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

Want to learn how to make money on maternity leave?

Parental leave can be a time of joy and excitement with a new baby around, but it can also mean money stress for parents. While you spend time taking care of your newborn, you may also need to find ways to make extra money to pay for your expenses.

I had a baby not too long ago (she is currently 1.5 years old – time flies!), and being able to work while taking care of her has been a lifesaver. So, I understand why you’re reading this article – because I also had to work with a newborn.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to make extra money while still being present for those early months with your new baby.

Why You May Need Extra Money On Maternity Leave

Many families have to take unpaid maternity leave, and others may find their leave is simply not long enough and want to extend it longer (many families in the U.S. get 3 months or even much less time).

Not only that, but maternity leave is an expensive time with medical bills coming in, the cost of baby essentials (diapers aren’t free!), and everyday living costs.

Also, there might be unexpected costs that weren’t part of your maternity leave budget. Perhaps your baby needs special formula or medication, or maybe your car broke down. These unplanned costs can put a dent in your finances, especially when your income may already be reduced during your maternity leave.

Or, you might also be looking to create a financial cushion for the future such as by saving for vacations or even starting a college fund for your baby. So, finding ways to make extra money during your maternity leave can be very helpful.

Recommended reading:

How To Make Money On Maternity Leave

When trying to earn money during maternity leave, here are three things to think about:

  1. Flexibility is key – Choose work that can adapt to unexpected baby-related needs. It should let you manage your time effectively.
  2. Think about earnings and growth – Think about how much you can make, how quickly, and if there’s room to grow.
  3. Pick something you like and fits your goals – Do you enjoy the work? You may want to find work that matches your interests, skills, and future plans.

Read further to learn how to make money on maternity leave.

Wondering how to make money on maternity leave? Here are real ways to make extra money right now if you're pregnant or if you have a newborn.

Top ways to make money on maternity leave

There are 27 ways to earn extra money on maternity leave listed below. If you want to skip the list, here are some jobs that you may want to start learning more about first:

1. Start a blog

Blogging is my favorite way to make money from home, and this is what I do while also raising my daughter.

Being a blogger involves creating content for online readers. You have the freedom to write about a topic you’re interested in (such as finance, travel, lifestyle, or family,) and freedom to decide how you want to make money on your blog – there are many different ways available such as affiliate marketing or displaying ads.

Blogging is my main source of income, and it has completely changed my life. I have the freedom to travel whenever I want, set my schedule, be my own boss, and I can spend all day with my daughter.

Learn more at How To Start A Blog FREE Course.

2. Sell printables on Etsy

Creating and selling digital printables on Etsy is a great way to work on your own schedule and earn money.

Plus, it is fairly passive income as you only have to make one digital file for each printable, and you can sell it as many times as you like. Another positive is that you can start it very affordably because you only need a laptop and internet.

So, what is a printable? They are digital items that you can download and print at home, such as grocery shopping checklists, budget planners, wedding invitations, wall art, and more.

I recommend signing up for Free Workshop: How To Earn Money Selling Printables. This free training will give you great ideas on what you can sell, how to get started, the costs, and how to make sales.

Recommended reading: How I Make Money Selling Printables On Etsy

Other than printables, there are many other things you can sell on Etsy as well, such as soap, candles, jewelry, and more.

3. Transcription work

Transcription jobs are flexible and can be done from home. By turning audio files into text, you can earn money when it’s most convenient for you.

An online transcriptionist listens to audio or video recordings and writes down exactly what is being said. This process is called transcribing. The goal is to do this without any errors in spelling, grammar, or punctuation.

If you want to learn how to make money on maternity leave, this can be a great option as you can do this at home.

I recommend watching Free Workshop: Is a Career in Transcription Right for You? to learn more.

Recommended reading: 18 Best Online Transcription Jobs For Beginners To Make $2,000 Monthly

4. Freelance writing

Freelance writers write articles, website content, social media posts, or even ebooks for clients.

I was a freelance writer for many years before switching to working full-time at writing here on Making Sense of Cents. It is a great career path where you can work from home and make your own schedule, such as writing while your baby is sleeping.

Recommended reading: 14 Places To Find Freelance Writing Jobs For Beginners

5. Virtual assistant

One of my first side hustles was working from home as a virtual assistant. This is a great way to work from home and have your own schedule.

Virtual assistants do many different kinds of tasks for clients, such as answering emails, scheduling appointments, managing websites, sending invoices, and so much more. It simply depends on what the person who is hiring you needs done.

If you want to become a virtual assistant, I recommend watching the free training 5 Steps To Become a Virtual Assistant.

Recommended reading: Best Ways To Find Virtual Assistant Jobs

6. Bookkeeper

If you’re good with numbers, you could sell bookkeeping services online or for small businesses, either on a freelance or part-time basis.

Bookkeepers are individuals responsible for managing financial things for businesses. This includes recording sales, tracking expenses, and generating financial reports.

If you want to become a bookkeeper, I recommend watching the free training How To Become A Bookkeeper.

Recommended reading: How To Find Online Bookkeeping Jobs

7. Freelance graphic design

With design skills, you can create logos, website designs, business cards, marketing materials, and more for clients and make money even during your maternity leave.

Recommended reading: How To Make Money As A Digital Designer

8. Data entry

Data entry clerks are like computer organizers. They enter, update, and double-check information in lists or tables. They type things like numbers and names to keep everything neat and organized.

Data entry jobs pay around $15 to $20 an hour, on average.

9. Create Canva templates

A Canva template is a pre-made design you can sell for things like social media graphics, ebooks, and presentations. It’s a handy starting point if a person is not great at designing from scratch.

Businesses, advertising professionals, social media influencers, and more all buy Canva templates all the time.

Canva templates have blank spaces where you can add your own words and pictures. You can also change colors and fonts to suit your preferences. They’re really useful for making things look good without spending a long time on it.

With Canva templates, you can sell a single design an unlimited amount of times. If you are looking for something passive, this is a great way to learn how to make money on maternity leave.

Recommended reading: How I Make $2,000+ Monthly Selling Canva Templates

10. Tutor

Tutoring students can be a great way to make money while on maternity leave, as there are many options to tutor from home. You may be able to create your own schedule and pick how much or how little you would like to work.

You can find online tutor jobs on websites such as If you’d prefer to do in-person tutoring, you can call or email local tutoring companies in your area or share your tutoring services on social media or in local Facebook parent groups for your area.

Recommended reading: 11 Best Places To Find Online Tutoring Jobs (Make $100+ an hour)

Wondering how to make money on maternity leave? Here are real ways to make extra money right now if you're pregnant or if you have a newborn.

11. Rent out your baby gear

Since you have a baby, you probably have a lot of baby gear.

Did you know that you can make extra money by renting it out?!

Renting out your baby gear on sites like BabyQuip can be a game changer when it comes to making extra income during maternity leave. This site allows you to share your baby items with families in need (such as a person on vacation), turning your baby gear into a source of income.

From strollers and cribs to high chairs and toys and more, you can list many different items on BabyQuip’s site.

Plus, you don’t need to have a lot of baby gear in order to get started – you can start with as little as a crib (which is the most commonly rented item).

According to BabyQuip, the average person can earn around $1,000 a month, and some are able to make over $10,000 per month.

12. Baby sleep consultant

As you already know, sleep is so important for a baby (and for the parents!).

You can earn a living while on maternity leave by becoming a sleep consultant. This is where you help other parents by helping them improve their baby’s sleep habits and routines.

Pediatric sleep consultants are experts in helping children sleep better and they make a big difference in families’ rest.

Read more at How To Become A Sleep Consultant And Make $10,000 Each Month.

13. Deliver groceries

If you want a flexible side gig while on maternity leave (and you also have someone to watch your child), then you may want to look into delivering groceries and food.

This can be a flexible side hustle because you can choose your hours and how much you’d like to work each week.

Services like Instacart need grocery shoppers, and the average shopper makes $15 to $20 an hour to deliver groceries. Drivers are paid per order, and you get to keep 100% of your tips. With Instacart, you would be physically going into grocery stores, picking out the food items yourself, checking out, and then delivering the groceries to your customer.

You can also learn more at Instacart Shopper Review: How much do Instacart Shoppers earn?

There are other food delivery gigs that you can do as well, such as GrubHub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash.

14. Airbnb host

If you have a separate space to rent in your home, such as an in-law’s quarters or an apartment above a garage, then you may be able to make money during your maternity leave by renting this space out.

You can learn more about this at What You Need To Know About Renting A Room In Your House.

15. Pet sit

If you are a pet lover, consider pet sitting for friends, family, or through an online service. It’s a great way to make some extra cash while you’re home and can be a fun addition to your day if you already have pets and babies at home.

If you’re interested in watching pets or dog walking, Rover is a platform where you can list your services and find clients.

16. Answer surveys

While answering online surveys and focus groups isn’t a way to make a ton of money, it can be a way to earn some extra money with whatever spare time you have from your newborn (such as when they are sleeping).

You simply share your opinions and answer simple questions, and in return, you can get cash or rewards like Amazon gift cards.

The survey companies I recommend include:

  1. Survey Junkie
  2. Swagbucks
  3. Branded Surveys
  4. InboxDollars
  5. PrizeRebel
  6. American Consumer Opinion
  7. User Interviews – These are the highest paying surveys with the average being around $60.

Recommended reading: 18 Best Paid Survey Sites To Make $100+ Per Month

17. Affiliate marketing

If you want to learn how to make money while on maternity leave, one of my favorites is affiliate marketing.

I have been an affiliate marketer for years through this blog, and it is what allows me to stay at home with my daughter.

Affiliate marketing means making money by sharing a referral link on your website, YouTube channel, social media account, and more. When people use your referral link to purchase something, you then earn money.

For instance, consider sharing books from Amazon on your blog. You give your readers a link to a particular book and encourage people to buy it through your affiliate link. Companies like Amazon value affiliates who bring in high-quality traffic because they appreciate the extra support in helping them make more sales.

If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, I recommend Affiliate Marketing Tips For Bloggers – Free eBook.

18. Proofread and edit

If you have an eye for detail, you may be able to sell your services as a proofreader or editor for different types of content.

Writers, business owners, and more hire proofreaders and editors to improve their work. There’s a big need for these types of positions, and you can find jobs through many different platforms.

If you want to become a proofreader, I recommend joining the free 76-minute workshop – Learn How to Become a Proofreader…and Start a Freelance Proofreading Business.

Recommended reading: 20 Best Online Proofreading Jobs For Beginners (Earn $40,000+ A Year)

19. In-home childcare

One great way to make money while on maternity leave is to provide childcare services for other families in your area, either part-time or full-time.

This is one of the best stay at home jobs for someone on maternity or paternity leave because it allows you to stay home with your kids while making money at the same time. 

Depending on your location, you might need specific licenses. But you could potentially begin without the extra legal steps by working with just one or two children. Just be sure to verify with your local city or state regulations beforehand. It’s also very important to make sure that your home is safe for children and that you are CPR certified.

20. Sell baked goods

Do you like to cook? You may be able to make money at home by starting a home bakery for people and/or pets. You can sell homemade baked goods at local farmers’ markets or online too.

You can read more at How To Make Extra Money By Starting A Home Bakery. Here, you’ll learn about the equipment you need to start a home bakery, food laws, how much to price your baked goods at, and more.

If you are interested in baking goods for pets, then I recommend reading How I Earned Up to $4,000 Per Month Baking Dog Treats (With Zero Baking Experience!).

Wondering how to make money on maternity leave? Here are real ways to make extra money right now if you're pregnant or if you have a newborn.

21. Stock photo photography

Selling stock photo photography can be a great way to learn how to make money on maternity leave. This is because you would be working for yourself and can take pictures in your free time.

Stock image sites are popular sites for photographers to sell their photos. These sites allow customers to purchase pictures for various uses like websites, TV shows, books, and social media.

One great thing about stock photo sites is that they can be a great form of passive income. You can take pictures, upload them, and earn money from an older photo for months or even years in the future.

Recommended reading: 18 Ways You Can Get Paid To Take Pictures

22. Social media manager

Social media managers handle businesses’ social media accounts with the goal of attracting new customers and helping a business grow.

They might share images or videos showcasing products or the company, take part in popular social media trends (like on TikTok) to increase visibility, and respond to common customer questions.

23. Book reviewer

Book reviewers read books and share what they think through paid reviews.

Yes, there are websites where you can receive payment (as well as a free book) for sharing your thoughts about books. Some companies that pay for book reviews are Online Book Club, Kirkus Reviews, and BookBrowse.

Recommended reading: 16 Best Ways To Get Paid To Read Books

24. Flea market flipper

A flipper buys items from places such as garage sales, Facebook Marketplace, or thrift stores and resells them online for a profit.

You may be able to earn extra money by flipping items for resale or possibly earn a full-time income! You can even be able to make this a more flexible gig, such as only working during nap times.

A helpful free training that I recommend is Turn Your Passion For Visiting Thrift Stores, Yard Sales & Flea Markets Into A Profitable Reselling Business In As Little As 14 Days.

25. Rent out storage space

If you have unused space in your home, you can sell it as storage for rent to people in your local area. This can be a garage, driveway, closet, basement, or even an attic.

You can use a site called Neighbor to list any extra space you have available for rent and have the potential to make up to $15,000 per year.

You can sign up at Neighbor for free here and list your space.

You can also learn more about Neighbor at Neighbor Review: Make Money Renting Your Storage Space.

26. Sell an online course

Selling an online course is a great option for stay-at-home moms and dads who want to have control over their schedule and earn a somewhat passive income.

Some topics that you can teach in a course are:

  • Fitness and exercise programs
  • Time management and productivity hacks
  • Parenting 
  • Arts and crafts
  • Languages
  • Programming
  • Personal finance
  • Traveling
  • Photography and photo editing
  • Plants and gardening 
  • Baking and pastry making

And so much more!

You can sell a course in many different ways, such as through Udemy or Teachable.

27. Rent out your unused RV

Instead of letting your RV sit in your driveway unused, you can list it on RVshare and make some semi-passive income. My sister has rented a few RVs from this site, and she has had a great experience each time!

Renting out an RV can earn you anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars each month.

How To Manage Your Money On Maternity Leave

Managing your money while on maternity leave can be tough at times. If you are looking for more things that you can do other than only learning how to make money on maternity leave, you do have some options.

Below, I will be talking about how to cut your budget so that you can save money, as well as your rights and benefits on maternity leave.

Cut your budget

During parental leave, cutting your budget can be a great way to manage your finances while adapting to life with a newborn.

Here are a few ideas to help reduce your expenses during this time:

  • Evaluate your current spending habits to determine where you can make adjustments – This might involve tracking your spending for a month or looking back at bank statements. You’ll likely find areas where you can save, such as dining out, entertainment, or shopping.
  • Cut back on subscriptions and memberships – Assess each subscription and determine the must-haves and those you can temporarily suspend or cancel.
  • Batch cook freezer meals before the baby comes – This is where you make a bunch of meals before the baby is born and freeze them. This can give you an easy meal to pop in the oven before the baby comes.
  • Cook at home – Getting food delivered can be convenient, but it’s usually more expensive than making your meals at home. Plus, cooking allows you to control ingredients and portion sizes.
  • Buy in bulk – When possible, get the items you use most frequently in bulk. Items like diapers, baby wipes, and nonperishable foods have a longer shelf life, and buying them in larger quantities can offer considerable savings.
  • Get secondhand and borrowed items – Instead of buying new baby gear and clothing, try borrowing from friends or family, or shopping at thrift stores like Once Upon A Child. Babies grow quickly, and they often outgrow items before they wear out.
  • Negotiate medical costs – If you have medical bills, you can try to negotiate them. Medical providers may be open to setting up payment plans or giving discounts for paying up front.

Short-term disability insurance

You may want to look into short-term disability insurance options before your maternity leave starts to help cover lost wages during your time off.

In some cases, your employer may provide this benefit, or you can purchase a policy separately. These policies typically cover around 60% to 80% of your regular income and may have a waiting period before benefits start (so, you will need to have the policy before you get pregnant).

Government assistance programs

There are government assistance programs that could help you during your maternity leave. For example, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and healthy food benefits for eligible families.

You can also check to see if you qualify for financial assistance from your state or other programs related to maternity and family support.

Find charities for help

During maternity leave, managing money might be tricky, but there are places that can help, like charities and groups that want to support new parents. You can find them online or at local community centers. Libraries, online parent groups, and special organizations are also great places to get help.

Remember, asking for help is a strong and smart thing to do, and there are lots of resources out there to help parents during this special time.

I recommend reading:

Know your state and federal law rights

I recommend learning about relevant state and federal laws governing maternity and family leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the birth or adoption of a child. The law also says that you cannot be replaced or overlooked for pay raises and other promotions during your leave.

However, paid maternity leave policies differ by state and company. Some employers may offer a certain amount of paid leave, while others may offer none. Make sure to review your state’s laws and your employer’s policies to understand your rights during your maternity leave.

By knowing your rights, insurance options, and the benefits available to you, you can better plan your financial strategy during your maternity leave.

Wondering how to make money on maternity leave? Here are real ways to make extra money right now if you're pregnant or if you have a newborn.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Make Money on Maternity Leave

Below are commonly asked questions about how to make money while on maternity leave.

Can I make money while on maternity leave? Are you allowed to make money while on maternity leave?

If you are in the U.S., then yes, you should be able to make money on maternity leave. If you are unsure, check your employment contract or talk to your employer’s human resources department to be positive.

Before starting any side income streams, if you’re worried about whether or not you are allowed to make extra money while on maternity leave, then double-check your company’s policies and your leave agreement to make sure that earning money during your time off is permissible. Some employers may have restrictions on outside work or income during your leave.

How do I survive financially during maternity leave?

To survive financially during your maternity leave, you may need to find ways to cut your budget as well as learn how to make money on maternity leave.

Does unpaid maternity leave qualify for unemployment? Can you collect unemployment after having a baby?

This depends on why you are no longer working at your job. If you simply stopped working because of your pregnancy, then you may not be able to receive unemployment pay.

However, if you are pregnant or recently had a baby and were fired or laid off, then you may qualify for unemployment pay.

What are some ways to make money while on maternity leave? How can I make money while taking care of my baby?

There are many ways to make money while on parental leave, such as by working online, selling photography, renting out storage space or an RV, and more.

How can new mothers use their time efficiently while working from home?

Time management is important for new moms working from home. I recommend creating a routine, setting realistic goals (if you are working and watching your baby, it won’t always go perfectly), and designating work hours during the baby’s nap time to help manage work alongside childcare responsibilities. It’s also important to take regular breaks to avoid burnout and feeling stressed. Working while also taking care of a child can be very tiring.

How to Make Money on Maternity Leave – Summary

Federal law, specifically the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), does not require employers to give paid maternity leave. Eligible employees are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and because of this, you might be worried about money during your maternity leave or feel like you can’t afford to take the full 12 weeks.

There are many ways to make money while on maternity leave, which may help you to pay your bills without sacrificing quality time with your new baby.

For example, you can sell handmade items or even sell consulting services. Remote jobs and work-from-home jobs are also an option (and my favorite), allowing you to use skills like graphic design or writing to make money.

Remember, it is possible to make money while on maternity leave. Yes, it will most likely be very hard at times and even feel impossible. But, you do have many options to try and make it work.

Do you want to learn how to make money on maternity leave?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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