Lung function was measured in 28 infants with cystic fibrosis and repeated in 17 of the infants during the first year of life. Thoracic gas volume (TGV) and specific airway conductance (sGaw) were measured plethysmographically and maximum forced expiratory flow at functional residual capacity (VmaxFRC) was derived from the partial expiratory flow-volume curve. At the time of the initial evaluation respiratory function was correlated with the clinical condition of the infants but not with age. There was a good correlation between sGaw and VmaxFRC when both were expressed as percentages of the predicted normal values. On the basis of the normal range for sGaw the infants were divided into two groups. Group A (n = 9), who had normal sGaw, were younger and had a lower clinical score and normal VmaxFRC and TGV values. Group B (n = 19), who had low sGaw, had increased TGV and decreased VmaxFRC. There was no correlation with age for any measure of lung function for the population as a whole. Repeat testing was undertaken at intervals in 17 representative infants. In most of these infants the relation between sGaw and VmaxFRC was maintained; there was no evidence that VmaxFRC was affected before sGaw. There was no functional evidence that the earliest changes in cystic fibrosis occur in small airways, as reflected by changes in VmaxFRC in infancy.