Gift Idea for New Parents: Jeni’s Ice Cream

When Toby was brand new, Alex’s office sent us a package of four pints of Jeni’s ice cream. It’s made in Ohio with luscious milk and cream from cows that eat grass, and the explosive flavors range from salty caramel to brambleberry crisp.

I still remember how decadent the ice cream tasted, especially to bewildered new parents. When you’re spending all day taking care of a tiny person, it felt good to have a blast of something just for ourselves. We spent the entire time saying, “This is so delicious, oh my goodness, try this one, oh my gosh…”

What were your favorite gifts when you were a new parent? Do you remember the food people brought?
P.S. 8 more gifts for new parents.

(Photo of Toby as a newborn)

  1. Love the love for Jeni’s! Brown butter almond brittle and riesling poached pear are my favs.

  2. I want a bite of each! Best gift, uninterrupted sleep. My mother came over with the sole purpose of taking care of my first little the second day we returned home so i could sleep. PRICELESS.

  3. I have a friend who is pregnant, but has not officially “announced it” yet. When is the most appropriate time to get her a gift? Would you rather receive a gift before or after the baby is born?

  4. YAY! I am from Columbus, where Jeni’s got started. We are so proud of this little ice cream shop. My favorite is the brown butter almond brittle flavor. It is SOO good.

  5. I want to try that ice cream. Yum. The greatest gift I got as a new mom was time. I had friends and family that helped with letting my husband and I have breaks and sleep. That was the best gift.

  6. Jeni’s is such a great gift for so very many occasions! We are from Ohio and have been enjoying Jeni’s for many years – no surprise at all she has became the massive hit that she has! Truly divine ice cream. Such a treat, certainly pure perfection for new parents.

    brandy j |

  7. Ah, Jeni’s. Two months after I had my son, I was freelance writing and missed having a group of cool co-workers…so I started working a few days a week for a few hours at Jeni’s, after my husband would get home from work. Jeni’s and my son will be forever linked– his first summer was filled with amazing ice cream and love.

  8. this is such a great idea! my BIL went to Saint Ambroeus on Madison and brought a few pints of gelato (pistachio is my favorite) to my hospital room. I just remember sitting in my room a day after giving birth with the baby hanging out in her little bassinet and all of us (there were like 10 people at one point) having gelato out of styrofoam cups bc that’s all the hospital had for us. BEST. IDEA. EVER.

  9. Um. Stupid question. What do cows eat other than grass??

  10. Thanks to this post I discovered a.) a grocery store right across the street from me sells Jeni’s and b.) I’m addicted to Jeni’s

  11. I live in Columbus, Jeni’s home and we are spoiled. So ridiculously good.

  12. Uggghhhh, I just finished off my pint of Banana Cajeta. So good!! Now I’m on to Talenti’s Southern Praline. I swear I don’t eat ice cream that much…

  13. Oh my goodness, they sent a Jeni’s truck to us Austinites during SXSW, and it was pretty darn delicious. It’s some of the heaviest, creamiest ice cream I’ve ever tasted, but I mean that in a good way!

  14. Ecreamery is another fabulous ice cream you can order online. It’s made in my hometown (Omaha!) and it’s delicious!

  15. Jeni’s salted caramel is ridiculous! I live in Nashville and just recently tried their ice cream from their food truck while taking my 2 year old to the park. We’re planning a trip to the other side of town to try more flavors in the shop!

  16. my boyfriend and i visited columbus, oh for a wedding last fall and ate lunch at a deli that was right next door to a jeni’s location in the german village. we ate outside on the sidewalk and salivated every time someone walked by us with a cone or bowl. oh if i had known… i would have gotten some too! *kicking myself now*

  17. That’s one gift I would have loved to receive! There must be something about post-pregnancy and ice cream though because right after my son was born eight weeks ago, I instituted Friday evenings ice cream :)

  18. OMG! I love Jenni’s! I first tried it visiting a friend in Columbus, and since have become a addicted! It’s amazing!

  19. We have our 2nd on the way…& as much as possible I have been trying to cook meals up to freeze.Its hard though, when you’re tired and can only think of cooking for that particular evening!
    We were so blessed by lots of people bringing us food for the first 2 weeks with our 1st child and I know that our church will bless us with the same again this time :)
    I also found a great groupon for our house to be cleaned before our baby arrives. I’ve had one trip to the hospital to stop early labor, so that was an incentive to schedule someone come clean for us!

  20. Our dear friends just had their first baby this past Friday and I spent all day yesterday cooking. I made them two dishes that can be lunch and/or dinner. Although we don’t have kids yet, I can understand how hard it must be for new parents for the first couple of months. Everything changes and even the simplest things seems overwhelming- such as taking out the trash! Now, if only I knew about that garlic in food for new mothers fact… oops.

    • what is the fact about garlic in food for new mothers??
      both my cousin and my sister are now overdue and about to have their firsts! What a wonderful blog post to come up today!

  21. Best baby gift I got… my sister paid for a cleaning lady to come clean my house for me twice! It was the BEST!! I felt totally spoiled and my house was sparkling (well for a day anyway. ;) )

  22. I know just what you mean! My friend dave works there, and before we moved to Pittsburgh, he took felix and me on a personal tour of the factory. It was so cool! And tasty, too!

  23. I live in Columbus and Jeni’s is one of the best things I have discovered in this little city! Love that she’s getting so much buzz all over the web! Go Jeni!! :)

  24. Hi Joanna!

    My parents recently moved to Ohio and have gotten to know Jeni’s ice cream very well : )

    I love that it is totally homemade and that they hand write all their labels, it gives it that special homemade touch.

    Hope your pregnancy is going well!

  25. S says...

    One evening we ordered in and had Indian food – it was really good. But the best part was my sister-in-law insisting I stay put afterwards while she did the washing up. Little gestures like that give you a much-needed break and that’s what you appreciate the most.

  26. Love, Love, Love Jeni’s ice cream. I’d been reading about it and finally tried it (brown butter almond brittle, boozy eggnog and sweet potato with torched marshmallows) last December and was an instant addict and made and addict of my friends too, lol! Great idea for a gift ANYTIME if you ask me


  27. Jeni’s Ice Cream is a thoughtful gift any time. When my dad died 2 months ago we had LOTS of family travel to attend the funeral, but there were a few special people who couldn’t be there. They lovingly sent their regrets. And then a week later we arrived home to find they had shipped Jeni’s Ice Cream right to our front door! We loved it! And will remember it in the future for other life changing events for friends and family.

  28. People never brought us food… and I wish more than anything that they had! Sadly, there’s no polite way of asking people to bring edibles instead of MORE toys/outfits/trinkets.

    Baby #2 is now 3 days overdue, I’m exhausted, and cooking is the LAST thing I want to do right now.

  29. I just looked them up, and it turns out there are bunch of Jeni’s ice cream shops around where I live. I guess not everything about living in Ohio sucks! Might have to drive out to Yellow Springs tomorrow to buy a pint or two!

  30. I’m so glad to see you posting on Jeni’s! I’m from Columbus originally and we’re all very proud to be the home city of such wonderful ice cream!

  31. What about us not-quite-yet-parents? ;) I’d GET pregnant just to get some of this… YUM!

  32. My cousin sent us one of those edible arrangements to our hospital room. It was so delicious and just the perfect thing. I was craving sweets and it was nice to have some healthy ones on hand. Plus the fruit dipped in chocolate was so delicious. It also made the hospital room smell delish!

  33. My mom came and took over the cleaning and cooking. She’s Chilean so she whipped us up batches of her famous beef empanadas which you can also freeze for later. And because it’s my mom I didn’t have to worry about being polite and uncomfortable with someone in my house. But also another great gift is gift cards for Starbucks or any food place that delivers….oh and my sister in law baked me a massive batch of cookies.

  34. I live in Columbus, OH, and LOVE Jeni’s! It’s one of my favorite gifts to give. Yea, CBUS for making it on to your blog!

  35. I’m from Ohio and send Jeni’s to all my new-parent friends! Her cookbook and an ice cream maker are also worthwhile investments to make her ice creams at home!

  36. My favorite gift was also ice cream! A neighbor asked me what my favorite flavor was & the next day brought me a punt of HOMEMADE caramel swirl ice cream… Just for me… Not even my husband. It was glorious.

  37. ahhhh, i live in nashville, tn and we’ve got a jeni’s location on the east side of town. we use it to celebrate absolutely everything. “yay, classes started!” “yay, you got into grad school!” “yay, you wrote three sentences of a paper and triumphed over your intense senioritis!”

  38. Those first few mornings with our son, my mom would bring me a dunkin’ donuts coffee roll on her way over to our apartment (not staying with us was also a gift, in a way). Disgusting things, but just what I needed.

    Our friends who had a baby a few months ahead of us, sent us fancy frozen appetizers (pigs n’ blankets, that kind of thing). Wonderful treats, plus we could heat a tray up when visitors came over.

    Now we send a Zingerman’s package to new parents always with the chocolate sourdough bread. It has been a big hit!

  39. Great idea! We had our first baby in NYC, with no family close. One of our friends made me homemade granola and mini quiches that were frozen. I loved both, but the granola is something I remember just loving because I could grab it and eat it so easily while nursing, so that is something I always think of for new moms.

  40. what a great gift! my boss sent me a box full of incredible food from an italian restaurant in brooklyn. fresh garlic, an amazing loaf of bread, fresh mozzarella, different types of pasta’s to cook. it was the BEST gift i could’ve ever asked for!!

  41. This is such a great idea. We would have loved it. My guys office arranged meal delivery every other day for his whole paternity leave. So nice for homemade hot meal without it being new people around the baby everyday.

    Memoirs & Mochas

  42. I am not a mama but I definitely love me some Jeni’s! First heard of and tried it a couple of years ago when my brother had some shipped to me for my birthday.

    On the subject of not forgetting about the parents, though, last season when I was sending my greeting cards, I sent one for my brother’s kids and then one for him and his wife, and later my sister-in-law messaged me saying, “That was so nice, it’s been ages since we got something just for ourselves…” (the implication being that, if they get anything, it’s usually in relation to the kids). Worth noting.

    • P.S. My favorite Jeni’s flavor is The Buckeye State, followed by Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet. Plus the Salty Caramel slips down the hatch dangerously easily.

  43. Fancy hand soap from my sister (a mother of four!). I thought it was odd, but then I used it (all the time thanks to stinky newborns) & the smell was so wonderful, it felt like a mini trip to the spa during those blurry first few weeks.

  44. My cousin would stop by and leave food at my door and then text me to let me know (instead of possibly waking us all). I also had a dear friend come and stay with me for a week to help with my older son. She was great at being there but not in the way.

  45. I just had my fourth baby six weeks ago. The best gifts have been meals and giftcards for fastfood. If all goes well I will cook again someday, but in the meantime pulling through a drive-through and not dealing with dishes is keeping me sane. I would also recommend a gift certificate for a massage.

  46. my friend brought me (and introduced me to) jeni’s ice cream (from whole foods, where she worked) when she brought me a meal after my second. poached pear was the flavor. i definitely think it’s a great gift for a new mom! i’m due now with my third, and i hope someone brings me some this time around, too! =P

  47. I’ve been to Jeni’s in Columbus and absolutely fell in love with it after tasting the cayenne pepper-chocolate and the wildberry lavender. The store was so cute too! I’m so glad to know you can order online, because I’m going to!

  48. the best gift i got was when someone told us not to write a thank you note. more than clothes or food or anything else, the extra work of writing a handwritten note (a must) and sending it seems like too much to do (especially after the wedding and two babies all within 3 years!).

  49. The gift I always most appreciated was always someone who would hold, feed and change the baby so I could sleep for a few hours, take a shower or run to the store. If that person also entertained my toddler too, well then…that was some serious heaven.

  50. My cousin (and best friend) made me 2 different types of soup. Each in single serving size tupperware containers. I put them in the freezer and I had healthy pre-made lunches for over a week. It was awesome.

  51. Jeni’s is so tasty! My favorite is the Brown butter almond brittle. YUM!

  52. I live in Columbus and one of the things I’m most proud of about this city (besides many other things) is Jeni’s!! Her Kona Stout ice cream (Kona coffee beans from local coffee shop Stauf’s, steeped in stout beer OMG) topped with her AMAZING caramel sauce is TO DIE!! The Kona stout was a seasonal thing though, I don’t know if it’s annual or just a one time thing but that ice cream will forever remain in my memory. There’s also a regular stout ice cream that is fab as well. I also wish she bottled her caramel sauce so we could take it home. You can only get it at her shops.

  53. i live in cleveland right now, and i don’t know what i’d do without jeni’s ice cream. i would weigh at least 10 pounds less, but…..

  54. jeni’s ice cream! i’m from ohio originally (and taking a trip there this week… obviously getting some jeni’s while i’m there) i really could have gone for a nice box of ice cream when w was born! special gifts from home are great!

  55. My husband’s from Columbus and Jeni’s is one of my favorite things about OH! If you ever have the chance to visit one of her shops, please do! Fabulous company. I wish we had them here in MI!

  56. another HUGE fan of jeni’s… i’m from ohio, used to live in columbus and the jeni’s in dublin was a regular dessert spot after a good date ;)

    i went to her book signing at williams-sonoma on 59th and park in manhattan, got to MEET the brilliant woman, and have been making her ice cream ever since!

    btw… did you know you can buy her ice cream at certain shops in manhattan? specifically, i’ve been known to grab some at the dean and deluca in soho ;)


  57. The no pressure gift is always the best! My best friend sent me a box full of stuff (new and handmedowns). In the box she wrote me a long note of encouragement and love. At the end of the letter, she said “Please don’t write me a thank you note and the next time we talk you can tell me all about your sleepless nights!” I still get teary eyed thinking of how freeing it was.

  58. Oh my goodness I want some shipped to London!! As a new(ish) mum myself, icecream would rank pretty highly, as with someone to walk the baby while I take a nap, and a voucher for a wash and blow dry at a local salon! Xx

  59. A big bin of assorted things… for ME while I rested in bed for those early days. A loaf of fresh bread and some jams, a fresh jar of pesto and a bag of pasta (easy meal!), magazines, a bottle of wine, some amazing comfy new socks, luxurious hand cream and even a nursing tank top. But it needn’t be so extravagant… some homemade muffins, magazines, a bottle of wine and an easy meal is amazing!

  60. I LOVE Jeni’s ice cream. Have you checked out her cookbook? You can make all the wonderful flavors at home!

  61. What I always wanted…and never got…was a mother figure to swoop in, let me get some sleep, and cook for a couple of days. My mother is deceased. I swear sometimes I will be the most awesome Grandma ever!

  62. that does sound like the best gift ever, please. looks delicious….

  63. The best gift we got (and one I duplicate for all our friends who become parents) was a gift bag containing cookies, chocolate, coffee, a lovely smelling lotion, and bourbon. Like the Jeni’s, it was a gift for US, not the baby, and it was just so appreciated.

    Now I’m hungry for ice cream….

  64. other than one couple, our friends didn’t bring us jack doodle ! i love jeni’s and would definitely get this delivered to new parents. i love the buckeye flavor … LOVE IT.

  65. There is absolutely nothing more delicious on this entire planet than Jeni’s ice cream. My husband’s cousin lives in Columbus Ohio and when we got invited to her wedding a few years back I was not digging the location. I had never been to Columbus and thought it was going to be a total drag until we hit the Short North district and I fell in love HARD. Not only with the street and the shops but the ice cream. When I was pregnant all I craved was their cherry lambic sorbet so my husband made special provisions to get me some. And then we convinced a local specialty foods shop in OKC to start carrying it. It’s our special treat and I just received her cookbook as a Christmas present. I am obsessed with everything about her ice creams and her company. I know this is supposed to be about presents for new parents, not Jeni’s exactly, but I could think of nothing better as a gift. I tell people all the time that if you don’t believe ice cream can be a deal changer, then you haven’t had Jeni’s.

    • Too funny – I’m from Columbus and my boyfriend is from OKC. I had similar feelings the first time I visited there. I thought I would hate it, but I actually have a pretty big soft spot for that city. What shop carries Jeni’s? I’ll have to buy some for his family next time I’m there!

  66. YES i am from C-bus and Jeni’s is the best. You’re going to get a lot of Ohio pride comments on this post.

  67. Great idea. Oftentimes, I think people only think to bring baby gifts.

  68. Being a born and raised Ohio gal, I have to say that Jeni’s is one of our biggest points of pride. If you ever make your way back to the midwest (Michigan is SO close!), you should stop by Columbus to visit one of the brick and mortar shops. It makes the whole experience even sweeter!

  69. A good friend came by and dropped off two full bags of groceries – scones, hummus, carrots, tortilla chips and salsa, juices, coffee, a loaf of great bread, fruits, a nice hand soap – I thought it was incredibly thoughtful and very, very useful!

  70. We’re from Ohio and LOVE LOVE LOVE Jeni’s! My favorite gifts were my mom coming over to watch the baby so we could take a nap together and all of the wonderful dinners our friends brought over.

  71. You’ve made my week!! That looks so delicious!

  72. Hello Joanna!

    I miss your blog on weekends…

    That chocolate ice cream looks delicious!!!

    – Patricia Paramo