Measuring respiratory compliance in newborn infants with respiratory problems provides useful information on the state of the lung, on approximate ventilatory work and about the effect of respiratory therapy on lung mechanics. Moreover, by allowing a functional classification of lung dysfunction, the technique enables the prediction of the course, outcome and complications of respiratory disease during the first few hours of life. Despite these advantages, and although the assessment of respiratory compliance by the airway occlusion techniques is very simple and reliable, these measurements have not gained widespread use in the routine work of neonatologists. This is probably due to a lack of information on the background of these measurements. This short guide summarizes present knowledge of the measurement of respiratory compliance in newborn infants, and is designed to be of assistance to all those interested in neonatal respiratory problems.