Ellie is our first child. She's currently six days and almost fifteen hours old. We're feeling much more competent as parents today than we did just a few days. I'm optimitstic that our confidence will continue to grow.
Those first few days are quite rough, though. As I've expressed it to so many folks over the phone, "We don't know how to take care of Ellie, but we remember to try. We know how to take care of ourselves, but we forget to try."
We've been blessed with good company during our early days, and I highly reccomend the same to anyone looking at having their first child (and probably even subsequent children, though I know less about that).
As a first time parent, you'll probably be spending 48 post-partum hours in the hospital (the max most insurance policies cover) so that you can soak up free advice from six shifts of nurses and a couple of lactation consultants. Free advice is good! Hopefully you'll let the nursing staff watch your infant between feedings at night so that you can get a pinch of sleep. However, it will be just two to three hours between feedings, and you'll be so excited that sleep will not come readily. You may not get much, and what you do get will be interupted.
You'll leave the hospital still high on new baby smell. When you get home, you'll spend your time either trying to take care of your child's needs or just holding her in your arms and smiling at her wonderful self.
This is where good company comes in. You're going to forget to make food for yourself. In a perfect world, someone would put food in front of you and offer to hold your child while you eat. Maybe someone will be making tons of extra food and filling up your freezer and fridge with tupperware and caserole pans and zip lock baggies full of meals you can reheat later. Perhaps someone will offer to hold your child while you get a shower, or while you and your spouse catch some quality time (most likely a nap at this point) together.
We were very fortunate to be surrounded by good company doing all of those things for us in our first days. It made a huge difference!
If you're going to be a first-time parent, try to get at least one person (in addition to your spouse) to come help you out in this fashion at the outset. You'll be quite glad you did!